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

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said all care home residents showing Covid-19 symptoms will be tes

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

All care home residents and staff showing symptoms of Covid-19 are set to be tested as capacity is built up, the government will announce.

As it stands, just the first five symptomatic people in each care home setting are being tested to confirm whether or not an outbreak has taken place.

However, with testing capacity being increased each day this is being expanded to include all residents and staff members that display symptoms, the government confirmed on Wednesday (April 15).

Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, 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 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.”

It comes after care home bosses in Norfolk said they were left to feel like “sitting ducks”, pleading with the government to prioritise testing for those in care facilities.

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John Dupuis, owner and manager of Elsenham House Care Home in Cromer, led calls for greater access for testing in care homes, while Steve Dorrington, who runs three care homes in Dereham, Watton and Wells, told of difficulties sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff.

Mr Dorrington said: “You can’t get hold of anything at the moment through the normal routes.”

Calls for greater support for care homes intensified yesterday, with Britten Court Care Home in Lowestoft announcing four of its residents have died following suspected cases of Covid-19.

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Mr Hancock added: “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.

MORE: Nine new deaths in Norfolk confirmed as total rises to 126“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.”

These tests, the government says, will also help support its ambition of carrying out 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.

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