Council reveals where care home residents with COVID will be isolated

Essex County Council (ECC) has agreed on which care homes should be used to accommodate elderly people discharged from hospital in a bid to stop a repeat of the high death toll seen in care homes during the first wave.

Six care homes – Great Horkesley Manor in Colchester; The Cedars in Halstead; Ramsey Manor in Harwich; Abbotts in Harlow; Forest Place in Buckhurst Hill and Longwood in Langdon Hills – will be able to provide 132 places at a cost of £4 million.

Revised modelling – based on the increased hospital admissions for COVID-19 – now indicates that another 118 beds may be needed, although are yet to be identified.

Between early March and early July, care homes in Essex recorded around 230 COVID-19 related deaths.

That level of mortality has not been repeated in the current wave. ECC has been strident in ensuring that coronavirus is not allowed to run rampant in settings accommodating the most vulnerable and elderly.

At the beginning of the month Dr Mike Gogarty, director of wellbeing, public health and communities at ECC, advised the area’s care homes to suspend visits in all but “exceptional circumstances, such as the end of life”.

Dr Gogarty said “window visits” could continue but not indoor meetings.

The quarantining measure means people leaving hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who are transferring to residential or intermediate care can be placed for isolation which avoids the spread of the virus into care homes.

It is proposed that people being discharged would typically stay in an isolation unit for up to 14 days, when they would be able to return either to another residential setting or to their own home.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter