Health inspectors in England have been moving between care homes with high levels of COVID-19 infection without being tested, raising fears they have put more residents at risk of catching the virus, leaks to the Guardian have revealed.
In recent weeks all care home inspections carried out in the north of England have been of infected homes, including a facility where 38 of the 41 people receiving care and 30 staff – almost half of the workers – had tested positive, internal documents from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show.
Over the last two months inspectors have been checking infection control procedures and care standards in up to 600 care homes, many of which were dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19, but the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has yet to provide testing. The CQC said on Friday it was expecting to start testing inspectors “in the coming weeks”.
Weekly Covid deaths in care homes have been rising. In the week to 20 November, 398 people were notified to the CQC as having died from Covid, up from 138 a month earlier. The death toll remains lower than at the peak of the pandemic, when more than 2,500 people were dying a week in late April.
The situation has sparked “very real anxieties about contracting the disease” and spreading it between infected homes, the leaked memos reveal. One inspector described work to his managers as like “going into the eye of the storm”.
Source: The Guardian, 27 November 2020