The government has written to councils and care providers, warning that COVID-19 cases are on the rise in care homes again.
A letter dated 11 September from the Department of Health and Social Care’s director of adult social care delivery, Stuart Miller says that while the number of coronavirus cases are rising in the UK population as a whole, there are ‘signs this rise is being reflected in care homes too’.
‘Over the past three days, Public Health England (PHE) has reported an increase in notifications of COVID-19 cases in care homes,’ the letter states.
‘Testing data has also shown an increase in the number of positive results.
‘Currently, the infections are mainly affecting the workforce but clearly there is a risk the virus will spread to care home residents, or to other parts of the care sector,’ adds Miller.
‘Unfortunately, in some care homes with recent outbreaks, this does appear to have occurred, with residents also becoming infected.’
The letter comes as the government’s new ‘rule of six’ comes into force with social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, to just six people come into force.
The government’s approach to care homes has been criticised in the past
The chair of the public accounts select committee, Meg Hillier claimed in July that many were ‘effectively thrown to the wolves’ in the first few months of the pandemic.
‘We recognise that rollout of the repeat testing programme for care homes was unfortunately delayed,’ the letter adds.
‘However, tests have now been delivered to all care homes for older people who registered for regular testing and the portal is now also open for care homes for working age adults to register for repeat testing.
‘At present, we have no significant backlog and are able to send out test kits within several days of orders being placed.
‘We encourage care homes that have not yet registered for repeat testing to do so. If for any reason you have not registered to receive the most recent set of tests for which you are eligible, please do so, and please be sure to use tests you have received in line with the guidance.
‘Please be aware that care homes do not automatically receive their next round of regular testing and so each care home needs to reorder towards the end of each round of testing. Care homes are able to reapply 21 days after their last order,’ the letter adds.
Photo Credit – Leo2014 (Pixabay)