The percentage of care homes in Devon with coronavirus outbreaks has risen in the last few weeks, as nearly half the 316 care homes now have two or more linked cases among staff and residents.
But with the majority of cases amongst members of staff, care homes are finding it very difficult, and they’re urging visitors to work with them to reduce the risk of infection.
The latest guidance published by the government eases some previous restrictions.
Now, ‘every care home resident should have one visitor who can visit in all circumstances (including during periods of isolation and outbreak)’, the guidance says.
Where all visitors previously had to test before visiting, now only those who provide personal care should test twice a week.
And rather than self-isolate following ‘high-risk’ visits out of their care home, residents now need only self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus, or if they’re admitted from hospital where there is an active outbreak.
Lucy Bull, a Director of the Devon Care Homes Collaborative says:
“We want to thank regular visitors to our care homes for working with us to help keep residents and staff safe. “National guidance has changed, but we ask visitors to continue following care homes’ visitor policies.
“Restrictions are still in place, so if you are planning to visit, please call ahead to check their procedures. Even if the home is in outbreak, the guidance supports some key visits, so it is worth a conversation with the home. And if you don’t feel well on the day, please postpone your visit until you feel better.”
Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health Devon, said:
“Cases of coronavirus in Devon are high, and there are a lot of care homes that are feeling the impact of that on staff especially.
“Care homes are following strict infection control measures, and visitors will still be required to comply with their local procedures.
“I ask visitors to carry on working with their care home, and continue to take care to reduce risk of infection.”