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Care home owners welcome news of full coronavirus testing

PUBLISHED: 12:12 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:07 15 April 2020

John Dupuis, owner of Elsenham House in Cromer. Photo: Geraldine Scott

John Dupuis, owner of Elsenham House in Cromer. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Geraldine Scott

Care home owners welcomed the “brilliant” news that coronavirus tests will be provided for all staff and residents who need them.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said all care home residents showing Covid-19 symptoms will be tested from now on. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA WireHealth secretary Matt Hancock has said all care home residents showing Covid-19 symptoms will be tested from now on. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The government has confirmed that, as testing capacity is increased, all care home residents and social care workers will have access to screening for the Covid-19 virus.

In a statement, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “I am determined to ensure that everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one.”

And Norfolk care home owners have welcomed the news, which came after warnings residential facilities were “sitting ducks” for the spread of infection.

READ MORE: ‘Sitting ducks’ - Norfolk’s care homes brace for impact of the coronavirus outbreak

Steve Dorrington, owner of care homes in Dereham, Watton and Wells. Photo: ArchantSteve Dorrington, owner of care homes in Dereham, Watton and Wells. Photo: Archant

Currently, the first five residents showing symptoms of the virus will be tested - to confirm whether there is an outbreak.

Steve Dorrington, owner of care homes in Dereham, Watton and Wells, said: “Bring it on. We need the testing as soon as possible.

“Staff are worrying and they’re going into self-isolation - we need to keep a grip on the situation.

“Its important to know what we’re dealing with.”

Mr Dorrington said care homes had not yet been informed how the tests would be carried out, and added: “I’m going to find out later today from the Norfolk Resilience Forum (NRF) what the process is.

“I believe if we have any suspected cases it will be decided by doctors who visit the home.

“I want them tested as soon as possible so we can reassure staff and families and residents. We will have to wait and see and I will be taking any opportunity to have testing where we can.

“But I don’t for the moment know how it will be rolled out. At least the homes are now in focus.”

READ MORE: All care home residents and staff showing coronavirus symptoms to be tested, health secretary says

While John Dupuis, who owns Elsenham House, in Cromer, said: “I think its a brilliant idea. I think it’s really great that everybody is going to be tested.”

But he added: “What’s more important is not the test, but do we have the antibodies?

“The antibodies show that people can go back to work and get our economy going again.”

The government has confirmed all symptomatic care residents and all patients discharged from hospital into care will be tested.

The care regulator is to contact all care providers in the coming days to offer tests to staff.

The measures announced by the government are set to be outlined further in the Covid-19 social care action plan unveiled tomorrow.

READ MORE: Care home and hospice deaths increase coronavirus toll as 2,000 added to national figure


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