Vigilance in care and nursing homes must be maintained to avoid an autumn third wave of Covid-19, care providers have warned.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) welcomed a further fall in the number of people dying in care settings from the virus, but cautioned that now is not the time for complacency.
Figures from the Office for National Statistic show that 128 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes in the week up to March 26, down from 151 the previous week.
According to these figures, 31,814 people died from Covid-19 in homes between December 28, 2019, and March 26 2021.
ICG chair Mike Padgham said: ‘Another fall in the death rate in care and nursing homes is extremely welcome, but what we do over the next few weeks will determine whether we can keep that rate down or risk it going up again.
‘Restrictions are about to be eased yet further and the more we mix again, the greater the opportunity the virus has to spread.
‘It is inevitable that, even with the vaccine, cases will rise following the re-opening of pubs, restaurants and shops and then rise even further when mixing indoors is allowed.
‘Scientists fear a third wave this autumn. The older and vulnerable people we care for and those living in the community are most at risk from Covid-19 and for their sake, we must remain vigilant and try to avoid that happening.
‘I think face masks, social distancing, PPE, exceptional hygiene and all the other preventative measures are going to be with us for some time to come.
‘The pandemic hasn’t gone away and is still claiming the lives of loved ones we must take care.’
This comes after the Department of Health and Social Care announced care home residents will be able to receive two visitors indoors from April 12.
Visitors will be asked to provide a negative test result and wear PPE during the visit. In the coming weeks, as testing capacity continues to increase, some visitors will be able to conduct tests at home rather than at care homes to help manage the flow of visitors and allow more visits to take place.
Minister for care Helen Whately said: ‘Thank you to all of our amazing care workers for helping to make this possible.
‘We want to go further, so we’re allowing more visitors at this next stage of the roadmap, and our aim is to make visits to care homes as normal as possible by the summer.
‘We know how cruel this virus can be in care homes so we must continue to follow the science and data, but things are looking up.’
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