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Coronavirus: More tests promised for care homes

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Coronavirus: More tests promised for care homes

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All residents of nursing homes and employees with Covid-19 symptoms will be tested for coronavirus as the laboratory's capacity increases, the government promised.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "determined" to ensure that anyone who needed a test had access to one.

Laborers welcomed the promise, but said the welfare sector needed more support.

Health care providers have been calling for more tests for weeks, with charities saying the virus is "running wild" amid outbreaks in more than 2,000 homes.

At the moment, only the first five residents who have symptoms at a clinic are tested to determine if there is an outbreak of the virus.

Suppliers also complained that deaths among residents were being "brushed up" in official figures and demanded greater support for the industry.

Meanwhile, labor leader Sir Keir Starmer is asking the government to publish a strategy to exit the coronavirus blockade.

Sir Keir said his party would support the government if, as expected, it extended blockade measures later this week. But he called for more transparency about how and when the rules will be flexible.

This is after Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned of "tough times" for the economy, after a bleak forecast of the pandemic's fiscal impact.

Coronavirus: More tests promised for care homes

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Chancellor: Coronavirus will have "a very significant impact" on the economy

However, Sunak insisted, "It is not a question of choosing between economics and public health."

The figures released on Tuesday revealed that 12,107 people died in hospital from the virus, an increase from 778 the previous day.

And data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which includes all deaths in the community linked to Covid-19 in England and Wales, showed 406 deaths recorded as of April 3 occurring outside hospitals – 217 of them in nursing homes. rest.

However, the total is expected to have increased since then.

In theory, increasing the number of nursing home tests will certainly be possible as capacity increases.

In the next 10 days, extra business partner facilities are expected to be available.

Most tests performed in one day are 18,000. Making about 50,000 a day certainly seems possible in the coming weeks, but the 100,000 a day promised by the government will be overkill.

Logistically, the delivery of the tests will remain a challenge. More than 400,000 fragile and vulnerable people are spread across more than 11,000 locations.

Compare that to about 200 hospitals and it's easy to see how difficult it will be to get to the homes to perform the tests and process them quickly enough.

Government officials have always recognized that nursing homes will be the weakest link in the protection chain that they have tried to engage with the British public.

The nature of nursing home residents, many of whom struggle with dementia, means that it can be difficult for them to follow social distance and good hand hygiene guidance.

They rely on the home care team for intimate personal care, putting both staff and residents at risk as soon as the virus enters the home.

Now, the virus is circulating in nursing homes, slowing the spread and saving lives, it will be incredibly difficult.

Every year, about 150,000 residents die – the fear now is that the number could increase dramatically.

Britain's largest home care operator, HC-One, said the virus accounted for about a third of all deaths in HC-One's nursing homes in the past three weeks. And MHA, a charity that operates 131 homes, said it has recorded 210 coronavirus-related deaths to date.

Hancock said he would ensure that anyone in a nursing home with symptoms of the virus, as well as any new resident of the nursing home who was discharged from the hospital to the health facility, was tested.

"Testing is critical in our battle against coronavirus and, as part of our plan to prevent it from spreading and save lives, we will ensure that all social workers who need a test can get tested," said Hancock.

& # 39; Sense of insecurity & # 39;

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Gail Grant

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Gail Grant is concerned about the virus reaching Ian's nursing home

Gail Grant, of Swindon, Wiltshire, has not been able to visit her husband Ian for three weeks.

Ian, a former dentist, has dementia and lives in a nursing home in Marlborough, about 20 kilometers away. He turned 70 this month.

"Because of his cognitive level, we can't talk to Skype or over the phone. He doesn't understand anything about the situation and he doesn't know us anymore. But it's more me – I know I'm not. Going to see him," says Grant.

"They say they have no case at the moment at home. But I think it is a matter of time. And when any caregiver gets involved, it will be a difficult situation."

She says of the official figures currently including only deaths in hospitals: "What right do they have to hide information that should be in the public domain?"

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is coordinating the effort and will offer testing to the UK's 30,000 caregivers by the end of the week, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

Hancock is expected to provide more details on the scheme when the government's action plan for social assistance for coronavirus is outlined on Wednesday.

The increase in home testing brings the government closer to its goal of completing 100,000 tests per day by the end of April, the government said.

"Not hopeful"

The most recent figures show a total of 302,599 coronavirus tests in the UK.

Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at the LSE, told BBC Newsnight that the government "is nowhere near" to achieving its goal.

"I just don't know how they can," she said.

"We don't have the same infrastructure and laboratory capacity as some of the countries that really lead the way, like South Korea and Germany. So, I hope they can achieve the goal, but I don't expect that."

Shadow social work minister Liz Kendall said her party is waiting for details on how the tests will be delivered.

The government's promise to provide the NHS with the necessary resources to fight the pandemic "should also apply to social assistance," she said.

Kendall also called on ministers to ensure that homes receive enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely care for people with the virus.

And she renewed her party's request for the government to release daily figures on deaths outside hospitals "so that we can get to know the full scale of the challenge we face".

Welfare minister Helen Whately told BBC Radio 4 Today that the government has delivered more than 7 million facial masks to caregivers, created an emergency supply line for contact with PPE and distributed actions to the forums. resilience sites.

"We have done a huge amount to help bring PPE to the forefront, but I know it is still worrying for those who, in particular, have no stock in the next few days," she said.

She said the number of deaths in nursing homes will be greater than the number of ONS and that the government is working hard to determine the "complete picture".

In other developments:

  • U.S. President Donald Trump said he had instructed his government to suspend funding from the World Health Organization, saying it had "failed in its basic duty" in its response to the coronavirus.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority has ordered insurance companies to pay claims to companies "as soon as possible" or to explain themselves to the supervisory body
  • There are fears that some couples may miss their last chance to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization, after the Fertilization and Human Embryology Authority (HFEA) said all current treatments should be completed by Wednesday.
  • The Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) warned on Tuesday that the pandemic could see the economy shrink by a record 35% by June
  • Children under 11 are returning to daycare centers and schools in Denmark, which was one of the first countries in Europe to impose a blockade

Do you work in a nursing home? Or do you or your relative live in a nursing home? Share your experiences by email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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