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Asymptomatic care workers unknowingly spread coronavirus

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Large numbers of staff could have been unknowingly spreading coronavirus through care homes, according to the UK's largest charitable care home provider.

Data from MHA shows 42% of its staff members who recently tested positive were not displaying symptoms. Nearly 45% of residents who had a positive test were also asymptomatic.

MHA operates in England, Scotland and Wales and has fully tested staff and residents in 86 of its 90 homes so far.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Our priority is to ensure care workers and those receiving care are protected, and the latest statistics show over 60% of care homes have had no outbreak at all.

"We've set out a comprehensive support package for residents and staff, including a £600m infection control fund, testing regardless of whether you have symptoms, and a named clinical lead to support every care home."

In total, 7% of MHA staff and 13% of residents received a positive test result. Routine testing is not yet under way.

MHA CEO Sam Monaghan told BBC Newsnight: "It is not difficult to imagine that a lot of people may not have ended up dying if we'd had earlier testing and we'd been therefore better able to manage infection control in our homes."

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Source: BBC News, 3 June 2020

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