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Care homes still caught in surge, says health chief

WHILE hospital numbers continue to fall, local care homes are “still in a position of surge” with Covid infections but “the numbers are going in the right direction”.

That’s the message from Dr Bob Brown, executive director of nursing and primary care and older people’s services at the Western Trust, who has been working closely with over 60 private care homes in the Trust area throughout the Covid pandemic.

At an online media briefing, Dr Brown revealed there were currently 10 homes within the Western Trust are that were currently dealing with outbreaks, which are defined as any where two or more residents or staff have Covid symptoms.

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Outline the close working relationship that has been built up between the Trust and the care home providers over recent weeks and months, and pointing out these relationships will continue in the future even after the pandemic has passed, Dr Brown thanked all the staff of local care homes, and health and care staff working in the community, for their efforts throughout the crisis.

“We continue to work very closely with those homes in particular, and indeed all homes, and there is a very good flow of information everyday through a self-reporting app that the care homes all complete across a whole range of indicators and that information is shared regionally as well as locally,” he said.

Dr Brown added: “The Western Trust at any given time has never had more than 13 homes in an outbreak situation. We’ve worked very hard, a great tribute to our own staff as well as the care home staff, and those who have worked in partnership with us.”

With regard the possibility of a ‘second wave’ of Covid, Dr Brown said the possibility was “something that has been on all of our minds for the last three months” and that both the Trust and care homes were being “proactive” in preparing for it.

“Whilst the partnership, working together in terms of prevention, mitigating risks, building resilience has overall been very effective, there is definitely a progressive opportunity to learn for any future,” he said.

“The roll out of full testing is a policy priority for residents and staff across all care homes.”

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