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Two care home workers arrested on suspicion of wilful neglect over deadly COVID 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.

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.

In a statement released on 15 March, Holmesley Care Home had confirmed that it was dealing with a coronavirus outbreak – and as of that time, five residents had died.

A spokeswoman said the care home was "devastated" by the outbreak, adding: "The vast majority of our residents and our staff team have received their first dose of the vaccine and we hope this may have helped prevent an even worse situation."

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