Routine tests in care homes are identifying more people with the coronavirus including those who do not appear to have any symptoms.
Initially the positive results found staff had covid-19 but increasingly the results were finding that residents had the virus, with the numbers now about half and half, a senior council official said.
Sixteen care homes in Brighton and Hove recorded cases of covid-19 in the past fortnight, according to Rob Persey.
Mr Persey, executive director for health and adult social care at Brighton and Hove City Council, also said that six care homes had recorded an outbreak – that is, two or more cases – in the past week.
He told a “virtual” meeting of the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board yesterday (Tuesday 10 November): “What we are seeing is the slight increase in two or more cases.
“Initially, most of the cases were from individual staff members.
“We can’t be sure in every case but, as a general rule, it looks as though they contracted it outside the care home and then went into isolation and quarantining.”
A second national lockdown started last Thursday (5 November) but the rules still currently permitted care home visits, he said, subject to conditions aimed at reducing the risk of the spread of the virus.
Mr Persey said that care homes were trying to balance the importance of loved ones visiting family members with the need to keep care homes safe.
He said that if there was an outbreak of two or more cases at a care home, visits would stop until the 14-day incubation period had passed.
But residents with covid-19 would only be sent to hospital if their condition deteriorated to the point that clinical care was needed.
Since the pandemic started, he said, 43 out of 92 care homes in Brighton and Hove – almost half – had recorded cases of covid-19 among staff or residents.
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