Birmingham City Council has decided to temporarily stop all non-essential visits to care homes within the city.
This decision is in line with Government guidance on how visiting in care homes should be coordinated as lockdown measures are eased across the UK.
This guidance confirms the priority is to continue to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission in care homes and prevent future outbreaks – ensuring the health and safety of both care workers and residents.
The current rate of infection in Birmingham is now above the set threshold of 14 cases/100,000 population, which put the decision to close care homes into effect.
Care homes were informed of the new restriction on Friday (14th August) with a letter from Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council, Dr Justin Varney.
Councillor Paulette Hamilton said “In line with national guidelines, the Director of Public Health has looked at the emerging concern about cases rises in Birmingham and decided to stop visiting of both older adult and learning disabilities/physical disabilities care homes as a short-term measure to protect our most vulnerable.
“We know what the risks are if Covid-19 spreads into care homes, so this is a pre-emptive step to protect our elderly. If the case numbers fall, then this restriction will be lifted, and this relies on what all of us do over the coming days and weeks to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Visits to citizens who are sadly considered to be ‘end of life’ will be deemed essential if appropriate risk assessments and precautions are taken.
Care homes will not reopen to non-essential visits until it is confirmed as safe to do so from the Council’s communication of its weekly thresholds.
Once the weekly thresholds have been determined and it is confirmed care homes can open to non-essential visitors, the decision to open then rests with the care home to reopen once they feel they can safely do so for residents, families, and staff.