COVID-19 testing extended to care home staff and residents

 Care home staff in England can now be tested for COVID-19 even if they are free of symptoms

Testing is available at regional drive-through centres. Picture: PA

Tests for COVID-19 will now be offered to care home staff and residents in England, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Government expands eligibility in bid to hit daily test target

In a bid to reach its 100,000 tests a day target, the government has expanded the list of people who are eligible for coronavirus tests in England.

The new phase of testing availability begins from 29 April.

Earlier this month, key workers, such as nurses, and anyone in their household were able to access testing if they were showing symptoms.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said the government was on track to meet the goal of 100,000 tests a day and now had the capacity to carry out more than 70,000 tests a day.

Eligible staff can choose to go to a drive-through test centre or use a home test kit

Tests can also be booked online via the government’s COVID-19 website

There is a choice between booking an appointment at one of the regional drive-through test sites or being sent a home test kit.

Mr Hancock said the availability of home tests is expanding from 5,000 kits per day to 25,000 per day by the end of the week.

Test results from the drive-through sites will be sent out by text within 48 hours and within 72 hours of collection of the home test kits.

COVID-19 care home deaths will now be reported daily

Mr Hancock also announced that the number of COVID-19 deaths in care homes and other settings will be published daily, as well as the number of deaths in hospital.

The health secretary said the new figures will be able to help with understanding how the virus is spread.

Mr Hancock added that the data on deaths in care homes being released daily was an effort to ‘bring as much transparency as possible’ to the government figures.

A total of 26,097 people with confirmed COVID-19 have died in hospitals, care homes and elsewhere in the UK, new figures show.

The figure, revealed by the government in its press briefing on 29 April, marks the first time data on the number of deaths in care homes and the wider community has been included in the government's daily updates.

The total reached by the new method of reporting is around 17% higher than previous data showed and includes an additional 3,811 deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic.

Tributes paid to nursing colleagues who have died of COVID-19

Anujkumar Kuttikkottu

One more nurse and three more healthcare support workers have died, taking the total number of deaths from COVID-19 to at least 36 nurses and 19 healthcare assistants across the UK.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULH) confirmed the death of staff nurse Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran who died on 27 April.

ULH chief executive Andrew Morgan said: ‘He was a very well-liked, professional, respected member of the team and he will be greatly missed.’

Janice Glassey

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to ‘much-loved’ healthcare assistant Janice Glassey who died on 24 April after testing positive for COVID-19.

Chief executive Colin Scales said Ms Glassey had worked in the out-of-hours district nursing service for 14 years and was ‘a valued colleague and friend’.

Julius Sana

Healthcare support worker Julius Sana who was originally from the Philippines and worked at St Peter’s Hospital in Newport, South Wales, died on 26 April after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

His sister Jovelyn Villareal said he had been a ‘good man who loved his job’.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins paid tribute to ‘dedicated and highly experienced’ healthcare assistant Jodon Gait who died on 25 April.

‘Colleagues who worked most closely with him describe Jodon as a dedicated, passionate, caring colleague, a quirky character who always put patients at the centre of everything he did, delivering fantastic quality of care to his patients. He had a great sense of humour and he will be massively missed by all of the team,’ he said.


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