65 people have died from Covid-19 across the East Kent Hospitals Trust during the last month – the highest number in the country.
During the week ending 21 July, the three trust hospitals in Canterbury, Ashford, and Margate jointly recorded an alarming 18.5% of all Covid-19 deaths in England.
Kent’s two other hospital trusts recorded no deaths during the same period.
A spokesperson for East Kent Hospitals highlighted an ageing population and a significant percentage of patients with underlying health conditions as a possible explanation, however critics have questioned how demographically different east Kent is from elsewhere in the country.
Despite recording more deaths than Leicester, Kent County Council’s director of public health is not considering a local lockdown in east Kent.
Andrew Scott-Clark said last week that ‘widespread community transmission’ is not to blame, instead in-hospital transmission is the likely cause – a claim disputed by the embattled trust running the hospitals.
To reduce the risk of infection, East Kent Hospitals Trust will test around 9,000 people, including non medical and support staff.
The hospitals have also implemented a number of measures designed to reduce infection such as temperature checks on anyone entering the premises and providing face masks.