Care home staff and residents to be tested regularly for COVID-19

As part of a new social care testing strategy, all residents and staff in care homes for those with dementia will receive regular coronavirus tests.

Care home staff will receive weekly tests and residents will get monthly tests. These tests aim to reduce transmission and identify anybody with the virus. Any care home with an outbreak will be tested regularly to contain the virus and potentially save lives.

From the results of the Vivaldi 1 study, experts deducted that this new testing strategy is vital in containing the spread of the virus amongst care homes and the staff. The study concluded after analyzing data and surveying more than 9,000 care home managers, that the best way to stop the spread is with more frequent testing even on people who have no symptoms.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said:

“Our response to this global pandemic has always been led by the latest scientific advice from world-class experts, and we will now offer repeat testing to staff and residents in care homes, starting with homes for elderly residents before expanding to the entire care home sector.

“This will not only keep residents and care workers safe, but it will give certainty and peace of mind to the families who may be worried about their loved ones and give staff the confidence to do what they do best.”

Minister for Care, Helen Whately said:

“Social care and its workforce are at the front line of this unprecedented pandemic with many of our care homes looking after those who are most at risk from coronavirus.

“It is our priority to protect care residents and staff and testing is a crucial part of that. That’s why from Monday residents will be offered monthly tests, and staff will be tested every week. This is so important as it means care workers can be sure they are providing the very best care without worrying if they are carrying the virus themselves.”

The government and NHS will work with the directors of local public health to roll out an initial round of testing for asymptomatic staff and residents at care homes, particularly those with residents over 65. The details of this testing are being finalized and will be made public soon.

David Pearson CBE, Chair of the Adult Social Care Support Taskforce said:

“Protecting staff and residents inside our care homes is an absolute priority throughout all phases of the pandemic. Testing is clearly an important part of this, particularly regular testing in key areas where prevalence is likely to be high.

“This new phase in our testing strategy is an important step in protecting one million people in care homes across the country. We are prioritising those care homes for older residents and those with dementia but will expand this even further by August.”

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