More than 100 people died in Essex care homes in the last week, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
The 102 deaths reported to the Care Quality Commission between 23 and 29 January, up from 88 the week before, put Essex second only to Norfolk in local authority deaths.
UNISON Eastern head of social care Caroline Hennessy said: “Nearly a year into this pandemic there are no excuses for the rising death tolls in Essex’s care homes. Behind these grim statistics are hundreds more mourning friends and relatives they haven’t been allowed to see since last March.
“Care providers must take their share of the blame for these tragedies. We know that many providers are failing to look after their staff properly, failing to pay workers in full when they’re off sick with Covid or self-isolating, despite government guidance – and cash to back it up – making it clear staff shouldn’t lose out.
“Essex County Council must ensure the infection control fund is used properly to make sure care staff can help stop the spread of Covid.”
Southend and Thurrock councils are responsible for adult social care in their areas. There were 10 care home deaths in Southend and none in Thurrock over the last week.
UNISON is fighting for a fair deal for care workers.