Care homes coronavirus testing: New online portal

May 12, 2020

A new online portal launched by Government makes it easier for care homes to arrange coronavirus testing, with access to deliveries of COVID-19 test kits.

All care home staff and residents in England are eligible for testing, whether or not they are displaying symptoms. Testing will be prioritised for care homes that look after the over 65s.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said, 'The additional testing capacity we have achieved delivers many thousands of tests a day for residents and staff in care homes.

'This new portal allows those who book tests for staff and residents to do so even more easily, and it also offers a route for the prioritisation of care homes with the greatest need.'

Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, said, 'We are determined that staff have everything they need to keep themselves and their residents safe. Testing is a crucial part of this. It helps prevent and control outbreaks and means steps can be taken to reduce the spread the virus and protect the most vulnerable. By prioritising thousands of tests for care home staff and residents, we can target our national testing capacity in the areas and care homes with the greatest need.'

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is working with local authority Directors of Public Health, Directors of Adult Social Services and local NHS providers to deliver this coronavirus testing programme for care homes.

Tens of thousands of care home workers and residents have already been tested, either by Public Health England, or at drive-through testing sites, mobile testing units and via satellite testing kits - packages of tests sent to care homes for staff to use on residents.

Testing staff who don't have symptoms helps prevent and control outbreaks. It means those who test positive can be isolated, reducing the number of people who can spread the virus and protecting the most vulnerable. It also helps to build up a strategic understanding of the prevalence of the virus in local areas and the sector as a whole.

Test results for residents will be communicated to the care home managers. This information will also be provided to councils in order to help manage coronavirus outbreaks in local areas.

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