COVID in Fife: Plea to take test before care home visits as cases spike
Fifers have been urged to take COVID tests before visiting care homes.
The “flow before you go” message came from NHS Fife as transmission rates rise sharply across the Kingdom.
That has helped to fuel an increase in clusters of the virus in care homes.
Dr Joy Tomlinson, NHS Fife’s director of public health, said. “As we’ve seen at various stages throughout the pandemic, the rise in COVID-19 transmission in our communities invariably leads to an increase in cases of the virus in our care homes.
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“While vaccination means fewer people in the general population are becoming seriously unwell, those in our care homes are often much more vulnerable to the virus and it’s effects.
“It’s vital that we take all reasonable precautions to limit the opportunity for COVID to be spread within our care homes.”
Dr Tomlinson said COVID clusters in care homes had a “significant effect” on hospitals with closures leading to patients remaining as inpatients for longer than necessary and adding additional pressure to hospitals which are already managing an unprecedented demand for beds.
She added: “We know how highly infectious COVID-19 can be, and how easily it can be spread by those who are showing no symptoms at all.
“For other people with the virus, they may not test positive until well after their symptoms have developed.
“The ask from ourselves is a relatively simple one – please test for COVID-19 before visiting a care home, and if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, avoid visiting until these have subsided, even if you test negative.
“By taking these simple steps we will help keep our care homes open to visitors, ease the pressure on hospitals and reduce the numbers of our most vulnerable contracting COVID-19”
Home COVID test kits remain free-of-charge for those visiting care homes and hospitals. More information at www.nhsfife.org/testing.
This week, NHS Fife confirmed some operations had been cancelled as it battles with staff absences and more patients testing positive for COVID on arrival.
It ha also tightened restrictions on the numbers of visitors patients can have in a bid minimise the risk of transmission.