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Older people discharged from hospital and waiting on coronavirus test results can now stay at a new unit to stop it spreading in care homes.
The COVID-19 care unit has been set up at Priory House care home on Prittlewell Chase in Westcliff and offers six beds, each in separate rooms.
Southend Care, which is operated by the council, said this could expand further to 13 beds if needed but confirmed the unit is separate from the main care home.
Jon Manzoni, managing director of Southend Care, said: “We’ve selected an experienced, compassionate team at the COVID-19 care unit to deliver dignified care to people in their own rooms.
“By continuing to keep people separate from each other we’ll support their pathway out of hospital, but at the same time help protect both them and our staff by maintaining isolation and reducing the risk of cross-contamination.”
The care unit will only be available for older residents and support will be given by district nurses, care home teams and the council’s hospital social work team.
The Pall Mall Surgery in Leigh, which currently works with Priory House, will offer clinical help if any of the patients’ health deteriorates.
Councillor Trevor Harp, who oversees health and adult social care, said: “Awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test is an understandably worrying time, so we’re working hard with Southend Care to make sure we’re offering the best support and service possible.
“As well as directly supporting people and their families, the work at the COVID-19 care unit at Priory House will benefit the wider care community in Southend by reducing the risk of Covid-19 spreading within care homes.”
The unit is expected to remain in place for the next three months when the council will review the arrangement.
Following some concerns raised by other care homes about not having the right personal protective equipment, the council has also promised the unit will be following the correct government guidance for both health workers and social workers.