17 care homes across Lincolnshire have been put under protective isolation after suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus have been found.
Over the weekend, two of the largest care home providers in the UK, HC-One and MHA, revealed they had recorded 521 coronavirus related deaths in recent weeks.
Professor Derek Ward, director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council, confirmed that around 20 to 30 cases have been tested positive in care homes in the county.
Residents are given a swab test to determine whether they have the virus or not.
Professor Ward said he expects the number of cases in care homes to increase in the coming weeks.
The council monitors 270 homes across the county and those affected by the virus have implemented restrictions and infection prevention control measures.
Residents who tested positive have been isolated away from others and care workers looking after them have increased their personal protective equipment (PPE) use.
Professor Ward said public health officials were in regular contact with care homes and each facility had a “link person” to communicate with the council on infection prevention.
He said the care and support of those who tested positive is “especially robust” and carers were given the “appropriate PPE” to protect themselves.
Professor Ward said the number of cases in homes was expected to increase as the county was on an “upward trajectory”.
“This is a virus that targets older people and people with underlying conditions who are often in care homes,” he said.
“We are doing everything we can to protect people and staff in care homes and we are keeping a close eye on what is happening in our homes.”
Among the homes to have confirmed cases is Newton House Care Home on Barrowby Road in Grantham.
Barchester Healthcare, which runs the facility, confirmed two positive cases of coronavirus last week but said the home was still open.
Two members of staff were also believed to be in self-isolation.
Meanwhile, a Lincoln care worker said they are “terrified” by the risks involved in caring for residents who may have coronavirus.
The 41-year-old woman from Washingborough, who wished to remain anonymous, covers central Lincoln and the surrounding areas in her work.
She told The Lincolnite earlier this month that she was at home self-isolating after suffering a “pounding headache, aching limbs, infected sinuses, a cough and a shortness of breath”, but was due to return to work in the near future.
She said she was concerned about PPE shortages and said the current situation is leaving her in tears on a daily basis.
She said: “I regularly see multiple people several times a day who live in warden council accommodation with other high risk residents.
“Our area manager has been advised as per government guidelines that we only need to worry about masks if clients are already showing symptoms, but it is already too late by then.
“The crisis facing the vulnerable will be catastrophic in the next few weeks and I’m on the verge of tears every day.
“Don’t just think about the NHS, think about those risking theirs and multiple others’ lives every day.”