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Government say they are to offer testing for “everyone who needs one” in social care

15 April 2020

All care home residents and social care staff with COVID-19 symptoms will be tested as capacity is built up, the government is announcing today.

The Government has pledged to undertake 100,000 tests per day by the end of April and is currently doing 20,000 per day.

Currently, the first five symptomatic residents in a care home setting are tested to provide confirmation of whether if there is an outbreak.

  • All symptomatic care residents will be tested for COVID-19 as testing capacity continues to increase
  • All patients discharged from hospital to be tested before going into care homes as a matter of course
  • All social care staff who need a test will now have access to one with CQC to contact all 30,000 care providers in the coming days to offer tests

However, as lab capacity increases every day the government is expanding testing to include all care home residents who develop symptoms.

The Government say the safety of residents and staff is a priority and as such, testing will now also be provided to all potential care home residents before they are discharged from hospital.  This will provide some  reassurance and peace of mind to residents and family members, and will help care providers to take appropriate action to ensure that social care workers and other residents are safe – including implementing isolation procedures for those who test positive.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:

I am deeply conscious that people in residential care are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus. We are doing everything we can to keep workers, residents and their families safe, and I am determined to ensure that everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one.

We have already begun testing social care workers and will roll this out nationwide over the coming days. And as we continue to ramp up our testing programme, we will test all current care home residents with coronavirus symptoms and all new care home residents who are discharged from hospital into care.

Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus, and as part of our plan to prevent the spread and save lives we will ensure that everyone in social care who needs a test can have a test.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are leading coordination of testing for the care sector, and have already offered 6000 care facilities the opportunity to test their staff. By the end of the week they will have contacted all 30,000 care providers.

Care providers will identify workers eligible for testing and refer them to their local testing centre.

Tests for social care staff and residents will support the government to achieve its ambition of 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day by end of April.

  • All of the tests are PCR tests.
  • A small number of people may be discharged from the NHS within the 14-day period from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms who need ongoing social care.
  • They will have been COVID-19 tested and have confirmed COVID-positive status. Some care providers will be able to accommodate these individuals through effective isolation strategies or cohorting policies.
  • If appropriate isolation/cohorted care is not available with a local care provider, the individual’s local authority will be asked to secure alternative appropriate accommodation and care for the remainder of the required isolation period.

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