Social care in self-isolation

February 14, 2022

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed that social care had the highest workforce percentage in self-isolation on 29 January.

The ONS publishes regular estimates of the proportion of the UK workforce by work sector and the proportion of the working-age population (regardless of employment status) by country that are self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The latest release uses data from the Coronavirus Infection Survey (CIS) to provide modelled estimates of the proportion of the workforce self-isolating because of COVID-19 by work sector. Estimates are based on data collected between 5 December 2021 and 29 January 2022, during a period of rising infections and changing self-isolation requirements because of the Omicron variant.

In the two weeks ending 29 January 2022, the percentage of people in self-isolation because of COVID-19 increased in three work sectors: teaching and education, social care and health care. The sectors with the highest percentage of the workforce in self-isolation on 29 January 2022 were social care, at 4.0% (95% confidence interval 2.9% to 5.4%), and teaching and education, at 3.9% (95% confidence interval 3.0% to 5.0%).

A confidence interval gives an indication of the degree of uncertainty of an estimate, showing the precision of a sample estimate. The ONS explains that the 95% confidence intervals are calculated so that if it repeated the study many times, 95% of the time the true unknown value would lie between the lower and upper confidence limits.

The news that the social care sector had the largest percentage of its workforce in self-isolation at the end of January comes as the Prime Minister announced in the latest Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) that he expects all remaining COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted a month early (currently 24 March), data and case numbers allowing.

To access the latest ONS release in full, visit its website.

In other news, a joint Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Health Foundation report found that Government's proposed amendment to the lifetime cap on care costs of £86,000, which would see the receipt of means-tested support to pay for care not counting towards the cap, would impact most strongly those older people with modest levels of wealth.


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