Northumberland care homes told to close to visitors as covid cases rise

Care homes in Northumberland have been told to close to visitors from Monday, September 14, amid a rise in Covid-19 cases in the county.

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 11th September 2020, 7:09 pm

Guidance has been issued to homes for older people to suspend non-essential visitors to help protect vulnerable residents, after an increase in the number of confirmed cases in recent weeks.

In the week up to September 4, there were 61 new cases in the county; compares to 26 in the previous week and 52 for the fortnight before that.

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Care homes in Northumberland have been told to close to visitors as coronavirus cases rise

Cath McEvoy-Carr, Northumberland County Council’s executive director for adult services, said: “The health and safety of our residents is our top priority and we must do all we can to protect our most vulnerable.

“We have been closely monitoring the situation and due to the increase in infection rates across the county and the surrounding areas, we have now written to providers asking them to close their doors to visitors as a precaution.

“This has been a difficult decision to make and we absolutely sympathise with our care home residents and their families who will be upset by this move.

“We appreciate that a huge amount of work has been carried out by all of our care homes during the pandemic and we are very grateful for all of their hard work and support.

“Covid-19 is still with us and we must all do everything we can to protect ourselves, protect others and protect Northumberland.”

Cllr Jeff Watson, the new cabinet member for adult health and wellbeing, added: “We all have a part to play in fighting this pandemic. While I know it will be upsetting for the families and residents, we have made this decision with their wellbeing in mind.”

“What we had been seeing is a large proportion of those cases were people in their 20s, but looking at the last week of data, that average age is creeping up,” she said.

“Obviously you can’t draw conclusions from one week of data, but it is of concern to me that the average age is increasing because what we don’t want to see is the cases escalating through the age bands, as we know people who are older, are more likely to have long-term conditions and are at higher risk of consequences from Covid-19 infection, so we’re looking at that very closely.”

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