A CARE home boss says Covid-19 is still claiming lives and has called on people to be even more vigilant.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) chairman Mike Padgham, who runs four care homes in North Yorkshire, is warning that the vaccine now being given to vulnerable people in care settings is not an overnight solution to the pandemic.

The warning came after latest figures showed that 560 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes in the week up to January 1, slightly up from 530 the previous week. Some 20,661 people died from Covid19 in care and nursing homes between December 28 2019 and January 1.

Mr Padgham, who is also managing director of Saint Cecilia’s Care Group, said: “Today’s figures show that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, and, despite the arrival of the vaccine, we cannot become complacent and let our guard drop.

“The message has to be that care providers keep up the pressure on Covid-19 – avoid social contact, use PPE, maintain good hygiene and observe social distancing.

“We haven’t got this thing beat yet. It’s an aggressive and easily-spread strain and we must fight with everything we have to keep our residents, our staff and our communities safe.”

The ICG has praised the Government for stepping up its vaccination programme.

“After a slow start we are seeing an acceleration in vaccines and credit to the Government for that,” Mr Padgham added. “We have to keep up that pressure until every single vulnerable person has had their first vaccination.”