Perthshire Advertiser

COVID concern at four care homes

Sites dealing with suspected or confirmed cases

- KATHRYN ANDERSON AND DOUGLAS DICKIE

Four care homes in Perth and Kinross are currently dealing with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to NHS Tayside.

That is down from the nine that were closed to admissions last week when a local health chief warned the new variant of the coronaviru­s was “tending to have a more sustained impact on care homes than previously.”

Among them is the Balhousie North Inch care home in Perth

The PA understand­s around 13 staff and residents tested positive for the pathogen.

A spokespers­on for Balhousie said: “We can confirm that a number of residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at our North Inch care home. The residents who are positive are being closely monitored and given one-to-one care to help contain any spread of the virus.

“Our priority is the care and support of our residents and staff, and their families. For this reason, we would ask that the privacy of those who live and work at the home, as well as their relatives, is respected.

“These are the first COVID cases for North Inch, which closely follows the care home guidelines issued by Health Protection Scotland, NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, as well as practising Balhousie Care Group’s firstclass infection prevention and control procedures.”

The news comes as the Scottish Government prepares to publish guidelines on the resumption of care home visiting in March.

Up to two friends and relatives will be able to visit a loved one in a Perth and Kinross care home with strict measures in place.

On Wednesday (February 24) the Scottish Government will set out guidelines to care providers on how to support residents having up to two designated visitors each and one visit a week for each visitor.

The measure is being introduced in a bid to improve both the physical and mental wellbeing of residents.

Visitors will require to wear face coverings and any PPE requested by the care home. The Scottish Government has also said visitors will be “strongly encouraged” to take a COVID test onsite.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The additional protection in place includes infection prevention and control measures (IPC); personal protective equipment (PPE) in care homes and testing of staff and visiting profession­als to care homes, which have developed processes and protocols for safer indoor visiting to take place.

“The guidance we are publishing sets out an expectatio­n that providers will put in place arrangemen­ts to enable regular visits to resume from early March and from the discussion­s I have had with providers, I now expect all care homes to have embraced this guidance by mid-March.”

But visiting will be restricted where there is an outbreak in a care home.

A spokespers­on for NHS Tayside said: “Infection prevention and control measures and use of PPE in care homes have remained consistent throughout the pandemic. It has been widely reported that the new strain of COVID-19 is more infectious.”

Cllr Eric Drysdale chairs the Perth and Kinross Integratio­n Joint Board and sits on the NHS Tayside board.

He said: “Regular testing within care home settings is likely to help identify more asymptomat­ic people who neverthele­ss may have contracted the virus.

“This in turn will hopefully help reduce transmissi­on. And with care home residents having received at least their first vaccinatio­n, obviously everyone’s fervent hope is this will help prevent anyone developing more serious symptoms.”

NHS Tayside told the PA all care home residents and staff in Tayside had been offered a vaccine. Almost 7000 inoculatio­ns have been delivered - including to 2988 residents.

Second doses are being rolled out to this group imminently in line with government guidance that second doses be delivered within 12 weeks.

 ??  ?? Outbreak The Balhousie North Inch care home has confirmed there has been a COVID-19 outbreak
Outbreak The Balhousie North Inch care home has confirmed there has been a COVID-19 outbreak

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