All care home residents and staff will be tested between now and June – regardless of whether they have symptoms

All care home residents and staff in England will be tested for coronavirus between now and early June, regardless of whether they have symptoms, Matt Hancock has said.

“Because this disease has a bigger impact on the elderly, there has been a huge need to protect people in care homes,” the Health Secretary said at Downing Street‘s daily briefing.

“We’ve worked to do this in this country right from the start of the crisis.”

He said that regardless of whether or not symptoms are shown, all care home staff and residents will be tested before early June.

Mr Hancock said 11,560 people have died in care homes and said two-thirds of care homes have been protected from having any coronavirus cases.

He reiterated that an extra £600 million had been made available to care homes to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Hancock said a named clinical lead for every care home in England has been made available who will check in to assess residents and support staff with advice.

“This is the most intense support and scrutiny that care homes have ever received,” he said.

At the same time, Mr Hancock said local councils were being required to conduct daily reviews of the “situation on the ground” in homes in their area.

“These reviews ensure that every care home gets the support they need every single day,” he said.

He said two thirds of England’s care homes have had no coronavirus outbreaks at all, and the number of care homes reporting their first case each day has fallen from a peak of 219 to 59.

Since the peak, Mr Hancock said the number of Covid-19 deaths in care homes has halved.

“But whilst this is progress, there is so much more to do and this crisis has also demonstrated the imperative for reform,” he said.

UK coronavirus death toll jumps by 384

“It’s shown the importance of long-standing calls for closer working between health and social care.

“It’s acted as a catalyst for integration and shown the benefits of it on the ground.”

It comes as deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said that only 19 per cent of critical care beds are currently occupied with coronavirus patients.

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She told the briefing: “One of the big concerns right at the start of the epidemic in the country was about critical care bed capacity.

“And in fact only 19 per cent of our critical care beds are occupied now with Covid-19 patients and that pattern is replicated across all critical care usage in the UK.”


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