COVID-19: Two care home workers arrested after deaths of nine residents linked to coronavirus outbreak

Two staff members at a South Devon care home have been arrested in connection with a coronavirus outbreak that is believed to have caused multiple deaths.

Nine fatalities have been reported at Holmesley Care Home in Sidford over the past month, all of which are believed to be COVID-related.

A 57-year-old woman from Sidmouth and a 30-year-old man from Exeter have been arrested on suspicion of wilful neglect.

Devon and Cornwall Police said no further arrests are planned, but the investigation is ongoing.

The force is leading a multi-agency response in order to safeguard residents in the home.

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Previously, Chief Superintendent Dan Evans had said: "I’ve no doubt there will be concern in the community regarding this incident and we are doing everything possible to help those bereaved families, while also working with partners to communicate to those with relatives remaining within the home.

"This is a complex investigation involving ourselves and multi-agency partners with safeguarding of residents at its core.

"There is significant work under way to understand the current situation and progress the investigation as quickly as possible, while maintaining the safety of care home residents, staff, police officers and partner agency staff."

The force has said a "significant number" of residents and staff had tested positive for COVID-19.

Ten other residents and one member of staff have also required treatment in hospital.

A spokesperson for Holmesley Care Home said: "I can confirm that two staff members have been arrested following an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak at the care home.

"As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment on this matter further, other than to say that we are treating the allegations with the utmost seriousness and are grateful to those diligent members of staff who brought concerns to light. The police have our full cooperation in their investigation.

"The health and wellbeing of our residents remains our top priority.

"We continue to work with all the relevant authorities to manage the outbreak at the home and can confirm that the majority of residents have now completed their isolation period and are showing no symptoms. Our latest round of staff testing also confirmed no positive cases, with the majority of staff having returned to work."

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