“Covid-19 is spreading much faster” and impacting care homes says Dorset Council

With approximately 40 percent of all residential care homes in the Dorset Council area currently impacted by Covid-19, Dorset Council says it’s working hard to keep care home residents and staff safe.

Dorset Council added that Covid-19 is spreading much faster than previously, which has led to higher levels of infection rates in care homes and other settings and is impacting staffing numbers.

This follows the Covid outbreak at Wordsworth House Care Home in Swanage, where 34 out of its 40 residents recently tested positive for coronavirus, along with 30 members of staff.

Resulted in a staffing crisis

The high proportion of employees testing positive at Wordsworth House has resulted in a staffing crisis with only 14 members of staff able to work. The home normally employs 47 members of staff. Dorset Council has been assisting Wordsworth House by diverting care staff from other deployments to help at the home

However, Wordsworth House is not alone in facing these issues, with 49 care homes in the Dorset Council area in a similar situation.

The number of care home staff testing positive for Covid-19 across all homes in the Dorset Council area has increased by almost 19 per cent over the last few days.

Exterior of Wordsworth House Care Home

It is “our moral duty to safeguard all residents and staff in care settings in Dorset”

Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for adult social care and health at Dorset Council, councillor Laura Miller said:

“It is not just our statutory duty, but also our moral duty to safeguard all residents and staff in care settings in Dorset. I am acutely aware that each resident is an individual person, many with families and loved ones, and our teams always have this at the forefront of everything they do in keeping people safe.

“As this is something that impacts on the lives of residents, their families and loved ones, and staff in care settings, I don’t feel it is appropriate for me to comment on individual care homes. They will continue to receive the high level of support they need and deserve at this time.”

“An increase in the number of outbreaks in care settings across Dorset”

Alongside Dorset Council, care homes in Dorset are being supported by Public Health Dorset. Assistant director of Public Health Dorset, Rachel Partridge said:

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been working with the care sector, local health partners and local authorities to ensure all necessary measures are in place to protect care home residents and staff. These measures are set out by national government guidance and include ensuring good access to personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control training.

“In addition, care homes are able to carry out routine testing for staff and residents to identify and isolate positive Covid cases. I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work and care that is being given daily during these really challenging times.

“Unfortunately, due to the high number of cases of Covid-19 in our communities we are also seeing an increase in the number of outbreaks in care settings across Dorset. We are working closely with those settings and key partners to monitor the situation and provide advice and support wherever it’s needed.”

Banner supporting Wordsworth House
Wordsworth House

“Unwavering love and support”

Meanwhile, Wordsworth House Care Home has received overwhelming support from the community in Swanage, following its appeal for additional staff.

On social media, the care home posted:

“As most of you will already know, the worst has happened and we are currently suffering a large outbreak of Covid-19 in the home. We are utterly heartbroken. The staff are giving 110 percent and doing absolutely everything they can to get us through this.

“Thank you so much to those of you who have shown us unwavering love and support. From the people volunteering to work in various roles in the home, to our neighbours who have brought us gifts and written signs. It means more to us than you know.”

“They need as much kindness, support and positivity as we can give them”

Dorset Care Homes Association represents and supports independent providers of residential and nursing care for older people and adults with disabilities in Dorset. Its chair, Anna Knight said:

“Our residents and families are relying on us to look after their loved ones and we are determined to continue to ‘rise to the challenge.’ All the care teams in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole are working as hard, as carefully and as professionally as they can.

“They need as much kindness, support and positivity as we can give them to help them carry on with their outstanding work. I am proud to be part of the care sector and even prouder of my colleagues.”

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