An outbreak of coronavirus at a care home in Glasgow has killed 13 residents, it emerged on Saturday.
The deaths at the Burlington Court Care Home, which looks after up to 90 residents with complex medical needs, all took place in the past seven days.
Two members of staff are also being treated for the disease in separate hospitals.
Visits to the care home, run by the Four Seasons Health Care group, had been suspended as part of measures to protect residents, who suffer from ongoing medical conditions such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
The only exceptions remain for essential medical visits or for exceptional circumstances agreed in advance.
The deaths have stunned staff and residents’ families will raise further concerns about the vulnerability of residents at thousands of care homes across the UK.
One told The Scotttish Sun: “It’s just so sad. How do you deal with something like this? The staff are doing their best to cope.”
All 13 fatalities at the care home have been linked to Covid-19, confirmed Four Seasons Health Care.
It said that tests have not been carried out on the deceased as they had not been admitted to hospitals and therefore Covid-19 could not be confirmed.
All those who died had underlying health conditions and their families have been told of the possible link to coronavirus.
A spokesperson for the group said: “With deep sadness we can confirm that 13 residents at Burlington Care Home have passed away over the past seven days. Our condolences are with their families and we are providing them with our ongoing support during this difficult time.
“The passing of a loved one is always traumatic, irrespective of the circumstances. Within the home the focus of the team continues to be the ongoing care and protection of all our residents and our colleagues, two of whom are currently being treated for coronavirus.”
Four Seasons Health Care said staff at Burlington Care Home had access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and had received the support of GPs and Public Health bodies.
The spokesperson added: “Our strict protocols on infectious diseases are in place, including social distancing, and we are closely monitoring the health of the other residents and colleagues. In these exceptional circumstances we are sincerely grateful for the dedication of our colleagues and can assure our residents and their families that we are putting all our resources and energy into supporting and protecting everyone in our homes.”
The Care Inspectorate said: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those affected.”
The deaths come amid continuing concerns over the vulnerability of residents in care homes during the coronavirus pandemic and the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff looking after them at such close quarters.
It emerged last week that staff at nursing homes are being left desperately short of vital protective equipment as supplies are diverted to the NHS to cope with the coronavirus crisis.
Supplies of masks, gloves and aprons have almost run out at several care homes around the country as equipment is sent to hospitals to keep front-line medical staff protected.
Care homes say that risks thousands of vulnerable residents and staff falling ill as the virus spreads through social care establishments.
Already some homes have lost as much as a third of staff, with many putting themselves into self-isolation after displaying symptoms of coronavirus or protecting themselves because they have existing health conditions.