Significant fall in COVID-19 cases in county's care homes

More than 90 per cent of care home residents in Welwyn Hatfield have had their first vaccination against COVID-19

More than 90 per cent of care home residents in Hertfordshire have had their first vaccination against COVID-19 - Credit: Leigh Prather

A report published this week stated that cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed or suspected in more than half of Hertfordshire's care homes for older people in January.

However since then there is said to have been a 'significant fall' in both outbreaks and deaths in care homes - with the majority of homes now reported to be open to new admissions.

The latest data is due to be presented to a meeting of the county council's resources and cabinet panel on Friday (March 12). It shows that in January 55 per cent of care homes for older people in the county reported residents with symptoms of or a diagnosis of COVID-19.

This figure increased sharply from the 25 per cent of homes that reported cases in December, but is significantly lower than the almost 80 per cent that were reporting cases during the peak in April 2020.

Meanwhile the number of care homes in the county for adults with disabilities or mental health conditions that reported residents with symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19 also increased, from 14 per cent in December to 25 per cent in January.

Despite the fall in outbreaks, the report stressed the need for continued infection control measures.

The report said: "The strong messaging to providers is not to let their guard down with infection prevention and control measures."

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According to the report the county council has continued to promote good practice, pointing to areas such as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning regimes, and it says it will be supporting care homes to implement new guidance on visiting.

The report also claimed that 30 per cent of care home staff have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Addressing this, the report said: "The council is working with NHS colleagues to ensure the social care workforce are offered a vaccination slot and have a range of resources and support available to encourage them to take up the opportunity.

"Approximately 70 per cent of the Hertfordshire social care workforce has been vaccinated or has made a booking, and over 90 per cent of care home residents have had their first vaccination."

“Figures are lower in home care and supported living accommodation and these areas are being targeted with NHS colleagues.”