Essex County Council has announced a further £18.6 million of funding to increase residential care capacity during the COVID-19 emergency.

The council says the funding will increase the number of residential beds available and help free up urgently needed space within the NHS and local hospitals.

As of March 24, Public Health England had confirmed 80 cases of Covid-19 across the county.

Councillor John Spence, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “The extra money released today means that Adult Social Care can ensure that wherever possible people with social care related needs are able to be cared for out of hospital, freeing capacity for people with COVID-19 related complications.

The council is taking steps to ensure maximum flexibility to procure care home beds as well as exploring other facilities to support this drive.”

The announcement follows an £11.4m cash injection to support adult social care providers, revealed last week.

The council says the extra financial resources will help ensure the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable residents and help providers and care staff avoid suffering financial hardship.

In a statement on the council website, a spokesperson said: “The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting the UK. The number of cases has grown significantly since early March and the frail and elderly are the most vulnerable. The health and care sectors are significantly affected and face high demand and pressures on workforce due to COVID-19 related absences.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

For more breaking news, local headlines and features, ‘like’ our Facebook page.

We also have a Twitter account: @EppingFGuardian

Follow us to keep up-to-date with news in Epping Forest.