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Council secures Covid-19 testing for new care home admissions from hospital

THE COUNCIL is now accepting new admissions into some care homes, having secured Covid-19 testing beforehand.

Last month, the borough council refused to take patients discharged from hospital into care homes unless the NHS could guarantee that all people would be tested for Covid-19 — whether symptomatic or not.

And this afternoon, Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health wellbeing and adult services at WBC, confirmed that this testing has been in place for a week, and the council is now happy to accept new admissions into the care homes.

He explained that the council and their partners across the health service set up a task force of specialists to work with care homes, to ensure they could cope with patients who had the virus.

Now, some care homes are ready to begin taking hospital discharges again, whether they have the virus or not.

The decision comes after the ONS confirmed there have been 52 Covid-19 related deaths in residential and nursing care homes in the borough.

Cllr Margetts said: “As with care homes across the country, those in the Wokingham Borough have been coping with a very difficult situation during this crisis.

“People have died of Covid-19 in our homes and our thoughts are with them, their loved ones and the staff who are care for them.

“As we became concerned that the situation in care homes was worsening, we lobbied our MPs and the Local Resilience Forum for increased testing of those being discharged and for those in homes and for improved supplies of PPE.

“We increased our support to local care homes, including providing emergency supplies of PPE and forming a task force focussed on going into homes, to support with specific issues like detailed infection control advice. 

“Despite this lobbying and support, Government guidelines continued to allow the potential discharge of patients with coronavirus into our care homes, so we took the decision to stop hospital discharge into our care homes unless the patient has tested negative and been without symptoms, or our task force had made sure the care home could cope with positive cases.

“This task force has now visited 14 care homes and we are now at the place where discharges from hospital can take place more safely into some of these homes.

“I would like to personally thank all care home staff for the immense effort they are putting in to keep people supported in the most difficult of situations.”

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