The Government has announced an extra £600 million for infection control measures in care homes in England and published additional guidance for the sector.
Its ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home support package’ says the NHS will offer training on infection control and provide a named clinical ‘lead’ for every home, and recommends minimising staff movement between care settings to stop infections spreading.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics on community deaths highlight the prevalence of the pandemic in care homes, with 12,657 COVID-19 related care home deaths registered up until 8 May. Almost 40 per cent of care homes have had at least one confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Social care is the frontline in the fight against coronavirus and we need to continue doing all we can to shield and protect our most elderly and vulnerable.
“This extra funding for infection control in care homes is good news and will help councils’ public health teams reduce and prevent coronavirus outbreaks.
“To play their full part in defeating this disease, councils need extra help and information to understand where outbreaks are happening and be able to act quickly to contain them. The Government needs to share this vital and up-to-date data with councils, as part of any contact-tracing programme.”
Cllr Hudspeth added: “Councils have a close relationship with their local care homes and are already working alongside NHS leaders and service users.
“Councils will be reviewing their existing plans to continue supporting them and ensure those who rely on and work in social care are able to stay safe and well. “Other aspects of care homes that councils do not have direct control over, such as the long-term future of the care home market, need to be met by government.”