Better testing needs to be in place first
Care providers are being urged to slow down plans to open up care and nursing homes amidst fears that a second wave of coronavirus is coming.
Latest coronavirus death figures revealed another fall in care and nursing homes cases. For the week ending 24th July, 69 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes, down from 91 the previous week and 95 the week before that.
Whilst welcoming this reduction, the Independent Care Group urged caution and warned that a proven testing regime needs to be in place before homes relax restrictions and allow relatives back in to visit their loved ones.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “The figures show a significant and welcome fall in care and nursing home deaths, which is wonderful news. However, we have to remain vigilant, even though there is growing demand for homes to re-open their doors.
“We need to slow down. There are far too many uncertainties at the moment for us to allow relatives back in to visit residents in care and nursing homes, however much we want to do so.
“We are being warned that a second wave of Covid-19 is just weeks away and we haven’t got the testing regime in place that we were promised. All in all, it is just too risky for the health and safety of our residents and our staff to ease lockdown restrictions in care and nursing homes too quickly.”
Providers are disappointed after the promised testing system – every seven days for staff, every 28 days for residents – was delayed after the Government’s chosen test was found to be unreliable.
Now, the Government is promising to supply homes with tests that can deliver results within 90 minutes.
Mr Padgham added: “A 90-minute test sounds a wonderful idea and will be very welcome if it is successful. But we have seen the Government make promises like this and then fail to deliver on them.
“We were promised a testing procedure in place by now but that has not happened. Now we are told that they are going to send out the 90-minute testing kits, but there are already questions being raised about the efficacy of those.
“It would be better if the Government waited until it had a proper, proven testing system ready for introduction, rather than raise false hopes and promise something that is not delivered on time.
“In the meantime, we are facing increasing calls from relatives who, understandably are wanting to see their loved ones after waiting many weeks through lockdown. But whilst we continue with all this uncertainty, we have to say to them: ‘be patient with us until it is safe’.”