VALENCIA’S care home sector has slammed its regional government for stripping them of health workers from at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

President of the AERTE regional care home body, Jose Maria Toro, criticised the high death rates at residences for the elderly during a committee-meeting at the Valencian parliament Les Corts yesterday.

It comes after statistics show that elderly patients in care homes made up 42% of deaths in the Valencian Community, as of latest updates.

A total of 560 died after catching the virus in a care home – since the state of alarm 1,473 have died in the Valencian Community – while active cases remain in eight care homes across the region.

Maria Toro said: “Health care was cut for people living in the homes because workers were removed to concentrate on hospitals. It also meant that the remaining staff were more susceptible to getting the virus themselves.”

He revealed that he sent an email on February 26 to the Valencian Health and Equality ministries asking for all residences to be closed, but no action was taken for a further 21 days.

Maria Toro posed the question to parliamentarians: “How many lives would have been saved if authorities had reacted earlier?”

The Aerte leader also criticised the lack of personal protective equipment for residential workers early in the pandemic and that no mass testing took place until April 24.

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