Devastated son demands answers after care firm transfers two residents ‘with Covid symptoms’ from one home with 15 deaths to another that was ‘clear’ of the virus before death of his mother, 81, from bug


A devastated son is demanding answers after a care firm transferred two residents with coronavirus to his mother's home which was previously said to be 'clear' of the bug.

Gary Williamson's mother Sylvia, 81, died at Kenton Manor care home, Newcastle, on May 17. It was later confirmed she had coronavirus. 

He claims the home, where his dementia-suffering mother had lived for two years, had been clear of the virus up until 'around a month ago'.

Kenton Manor is on the same site as care home Kenton Hall. Both homes are run by care operators Solehawk.

Solehawk have admitted moving two patients with Covid-19 symptoms into Kenton Manor - Sylvia's home - from neighbouring Kenton Hall on April 10.

On April 27, it was reported by trade union GMB that at least 15 residents died from Covid-19 at Kenton Hall.
Gary Williamson's mother Sylvia, 81, (pictured together) died at Kenton Manor care home, Newcastle, on May 17. It was later confirmed she had coronavirus 

Solehawk has defended the decision, saying the transfer was approved by Public Health England and that the residents were quarantined for 14 days after being moved.  

But Mr Williamson said he still has unanswered questions following his mother's death.

'I just don't understand how that could get approved, they must have known they were taking a risk,' the 50-year-old said.

Sylvia, who leaves behind two sons, three grandchildren and a great-grandson, had been living at Kenton Manor for around two years after suffering with dementia for around three years.
Sylvia Williamson died on May 17 at Kenton Manor care home, Newcastle, with test results given to the family after the 81-year-old's death confirming she had coronavirus
The grandmother, from Blakelaw, Newcastle, who suffered from dementia, had lived in Kenton Manor care home for two years after caring for her full-time became too much for her devoted husband Jimmy
Sylvia Williamson died on May 17 at Kenton Manor care home, Newcastle, with test results given to the family after the 81-year-old's death confirming she had coronavirus

Mr Williamson said: 'She was doing great there, the staff are fantastic, everything was fine. 

'The week before they shut the pubs we were told we couldn't visit anymore. 

Britain announces 121 Covid-19 daily deaths - taking official number of fatalities to 36,914

Britain today (Monday) announced 121 more deaths across all settings, taking the official death toll to almost 37,000.  

It marks the lowest Monday death toll since the UK's draconian lockdown was enforced on March 23 (74 deaths). For comparison, 160 fatalities were announced last Monday and 118 were recorded yesterday.

But officials warn that death numbers released on Sundays and Mondays are usually significantly smaller due to a delay in processing fatalities over the weekend.

Department of Health chiefs also announced 1,625 more Covid-19 cases today, the first time the UK has recorded fewer than 2,000 positive tests in the space of 24 hours in almost nine weeks.  

The Department of Health's daily death toll means the rolling seven-day average has dropped to just 303 - the lowest since March 31 (274). 

It takes the overall official number of victims to 36,914 - but the true number is thousands higher because it only takes into account laboratory-confirmed cases, not the suspected deaths in other settings. 

The figures published today by NHS England show April 8 continues to have the highest number for the most hospital deaths on a single day, with a current total of 891. 

Of the 59 new deaths recorded in England's hospitals, 47 occurred over the weekend. Five took place on Friday, while the remaining seven victims succumbed to the disease between May 16 and 21.

'It was awful but we thought, if it keeps her safe, fair enough.'  

'I just feared the worst. We just felt like it was only a matter of time.'

Two weeks ago the family were informed that Sylvia had started vomiting and wouldn't take any fluids.

Mr Williamson said: 'That went on for a few days, and we got a phone call on Friday saying all her levels had dropped, and we could go and see her because she was going to pass away. She lasted until Sunday.'

Mr Williamson said his mother was tested twice for Covid-19 - the first set of results were lost in transit and the second set, which they obtained after she died, confirmed she had the virus. 

The family are now calling for answers, with Mr Williamson saying, 'I'm not saying it would never have come into the home, but I just can't believe they would have allowed them to move people into a home that was clear of it.'    

Last month, a union claimed 'at least 15 residents' at Kenton Hall were believed to have died after contracting coronavirus.

At the time Solehawk, the company that operates both homes, said they could not confirm whether the deaths were as a result of Covid-19. 

The firm has now said there have been six confirmed Covid-19 related deaths at Kenton Hall and four at Kenton Manor. 

Mr Williamson said he was told by a source at Kenton Hall in April that two residents with symptoms were being moved into Kenton Manor, which prior to that had been 'free of' the virus.

Solehawk has said the transfer was approved by Public Health England and that the residents were quarantined for 14 days after being moved on April 10.

It is not known how Sylvia contracted Covid-19, and there is no evidence that the transfer of residents between homes had anything to do with residents being infected at Kenton Manor.  

Paying tribute to his mum, Mr Williamson said: 'She was just a character. She was always dead happy, always smiling, she was never any bother. The staff all loved her. 

'My dad's devastated, they were together for 65 years and he used to visit her every day.' 

A spokesperson for Kenton Manor Care Home said: 'We are truly heartbroken by the sad loss of Mrs Williamson and our sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time. 

'Our staff, most of whom have worked in the home for many years, work incredibly hard to care for and protect the health of our residents. 

'The loss of any resident is hard for our staff to deal with but they are professional and continue to provide the best possible care in line with all Government guidance. This includes isolating any new admissions to the home. 

'Prior to the transfer of the two residents from Kenton Hall to Kenton Manor on April, 10, we sought the advice and guidance of Public Health England who confirmed the transfer was safe and could go ahead. 

'In line with the Government guidance these residents were in isolation for the required two weeks until April 24.
Sylvia Williamson, 81, died at Kenton Manor care home (pictured), Newcastle, on May 17

'Current guidance shows that as long as the isolation is completed, the risk of further infection is minimal. 

'As an extra precaution, the home is running a strict policy where staff are allocated to specific floors to minimise the chance of cross infection, which was the case here.'

The spokesperson added: 'We have now tested every resident and staff member which commenced prior to the sad loss of Mrs Williamson and prior to the Government's instruction on the availability of testing in all care homes. 

'This testing has identified a small number of staff and residents who had no symptoms but have shown a positive result. All of these people have subsequently been isolated.

'However, this shows the great difficulty all care homes have in identifying new cases of the virus. 

'We have tested in all residents and in excess of 140 staff in the homes and support staff who provide support to the staff teams.'