Coronavirus Update – Council Statement on Care Home Visiting Arrangements

Written by on 7th September 2020

In response to a continued rise in Coronavirus cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf over the last seven days, the Council will maintain reduced access arrangements to local authority-run and local independent care homes.

This decision means that no friends or family members will be able to visit residents inside the facilities of a local authority or privately-operated care home. This decision will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Family and friends will continue to be able to visit loved-ones outside residential buildings, on pre-arranged visits in-line with social distancing requirements. The Council has issued guidance to local independent care homes advising the same approach. Internal visits will continue to be available in end of life circumstances and with the appropriate PPE requirements. This arrangement will continue to be reviewed.

County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of the Council said: “It is clear from the recent escalation in positive Coronavirus cases locally, that the prevalence of this virus in our community is unfortunately increasing. While these figures remain moderate and have developed from a low base number, it is evident that transmission of the virus locally is increasing and a similar trend is apparent in other locations across South Wales.

“In light of this and following a series of meetings I’ve held today with officers from RCT Council, the Director of Public Health at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, and Welsh Government Ministers and Officials, I’d like to provide residents with the following update.

“In the coming days, a mobile testing centre will be established by the Local Health Board in the lower Rhondda area in response to a number of local clusters. While cases have increased across the County Borough, the Test, Trace, Protect programme is working extremely well and has linked a number of cases in the area and identified the sources of infection, which is helping to isolate and close down these clusters.

“However, as a precautionary measure, I have taken the decision to restrict access to care homes throughout the County to help reduce the risk to vulnerable clients. Visits will initially be restricted for a duration of 2-3 weeks and subject to weekly reviews, whilst external visits will only be permitted through the agreement of each setting. This change in visiting arrangements will be introduced at both private and Council-run care homes across the County.

“As a further measure, I have also asked the Health Board and Public Health Wales to increase the frequency of testing from fortnightly to weekly at care homes across the County over the next few weeks, to assist our response to the current situation.

“I know the decision to limit access will come as a disappointment to relatives and friends of loved ones currently being supported in our residential homes, but I hope everyone will appreciate that this decision to suspend internal visiting arrangements, has been taken as a very necessary precaution.

“I am also aware of a small number of isolated cases at school settings across RCT. Individual schools and the Council’s Education department have robust measures in place and are following these through with the necessary actions to reduce the risk.

“While cases have increased from a low base over the last week, we are not yet at the point that further measures are needed, however, if we are to avoid a local lockdown situation each and every one of us needs to play our part in stopping the spread of the virus through maintaining good hand hygiene, observing social distancing whenever possible, and wearing face coverings where necessary.”

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