Coronavirus ‘clusters’ breaking out in suburban London care homes

Professor Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, told The Telegraph: “The rise in infection rates is very worrying, particularly for care services – because people who use care services are at the highest risk of contracting the virus.”

The comments came as a care home manager described the coronavirus testing system as “a complete farce”, with infected staff waiting the length of the mandatory isolation period before receiving their results.

Anita Astle, the managing director at the Wren Hall Nursing Home in Nottingham, currently looks after 54 residents. During the peak of the pandemic, 21 residents died. 

She said she ensured that all 142 of her staff were tested for coronavirus on September 4, but they only received the results on September 11 and discovered that four had tested positive.

“The whole system is a complete farce,” she said. “If you’re asymptomatic, you have to isolate for 10 days, so by the time those four members of staff received their results they only had to isolate for two days. 

“Because getting the results took so long, we could have potentially had 142 Covid-positive staff and 54 Covid-positive residents, so either the tests are farcical or we could argue that they are reliable and the fact that the staff were wearing PPE appropriately meant that it did not spread.”

Ms Astle, also a board member at Skills for Care, the strategic body for workforce development in adult social care in England, added: “We need testing at the point of service. Our main concern is the inadequacy of the testing. We do have access, but the results are just coming through far too late.” 

Watch Angela Rayner challenge Boris Johnson on coronavirus testing capacity in the video below:

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