COVID-19: Care Homes in England – Update

May 8, 2020

Carl  Heneghan, Jason Oke


Updated 12th Oct: Data from care homes shows that outbreaks have gone down from 228  to 91 in England in the week of the 21st and  in the last week there were 116 outbreaks.


The relative increase in care home exceeds the background population increase in cases.

Information on acute respiratory infection (ARI) incidents is based on situations reported to PHE Health Protection Teams (HPTs). These include:

  • ‘Confirmed outbreaks of acute respiratory infections ie two or more laboratory confirmed cases (COVID-19, influenza or other respiratory pathogen) linked to a particular setting.’
  • Situations where an outbreak is suspected. All suspected outbreaks are further investigated by the HPT in liaison with local partners and a significant proportion do not meet the criteria of a confirmed outbreak. For example if suspected cases test negative for COVID19 or other respiratory pathogens, or cases are subsequently found not to have direct links to the setting. Since Pillar 2 testing became open to everyone during week 21 more incidents of mild disease have been detected in settings with healthy young populations.’

Total reported hospital admissions and diagnoses from a care home in England

NHS England Covid 19 Activity 


PHE’s National surveillance reports

PHE reports flu and Covid

Last updated 2nd October: Covid surveillance reports

Last updated 27 August 2020: COVID-19: number of outbreaks in care homes – management information


Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme. (Full bio and disclosure statement here)

Jason Oke is a Senior Statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and Module Coordinator for Statistical Computing with R and Stata (EBHC Med Stats), and Introduction to Statistics for Health Care Research (EBHC), as part of the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme.

Disclaimerthe article has not been peer-reviewed; it should not replace individual clinical judgement, and the sources cited should be checked. The views expressed in this commentary represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the host institution, the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care. The views are not a substitute for professional medical advice.