The government has stressed the importance of regular testing and consistent use of PPE after the number of coronavirus infections in care homes began to rise.
A leaked Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) report showed the rate of coronavirus recorded through satellite tests, which are mainly used in care homes, had risen fourfold since the start of the month to an estimated 1,100 new cases per day.
The Sunday Times reported that Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock held an emergency update last week which reported that outbreaks had been detected in 43 care homes.
The rise in infection prompted Stuart Miller, Director of Adult Social Care Delivery Department of Health and Social Care to write to care providers to stress the importance of regular testing and consistent use of PPE and urge them to follow the best infection control procedures as set out in government guidance to contain the threat of a further outbreak.
While acknowledging delays to the roll-out of the government’s testing programme, Mr Miller stressed the importance of weekly staff testing and signposted guidance on howthis can be accessed.
On PPE, Mr Miller highlighted Public Health England guidance on correct use and how to work safely in care homes. Care homes are advised to order PPE through the government’s PPE Portal.
Mr Miller added the government would be shortly publishing its Adult Social Care Winter Plan which will set out support and resources for care providers over the winter months.
Independent Care Group chair Mike Padgham said care homes were walking “a tightrope” by enabling care home visits as infection rates begin to rise.