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Care homes advised to suspend visits and protect residents

Care homes around Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland have been advised to suspend visits in order to protect residents from Covid-19.

South Tees Director of Public Health Mark Adams has written to care home managers with new guidance in response to rising infection rates.

In his letter, Mr Adams writes: "This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, as we understand the importance of visiting for your residents and also for their family members and friends, but our priority is to protect our most vulnerable residents.

"We are reviewing the situation daily and will contact you again as soon as our advice changes."

A number of authorities around the North East have now issued the same guidance.

Care homes are working closely with councils, Public Health England and local NHS teams to keep residents and staff safe.

Erik Scollay, Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration at Middlesbrough Council, said: "I'd like to again thank our care homes who are doing a wonderful job in the most challenging of circumstances.

"We know how traumatic it can be for residents and families when visits can't take place, but we must take every available precaution to stop the spread of Covid, particularly when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable."

Patrick Rice, Corporate Director for Adults and Communities at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: "Everyone who works in the care home sector is doing a fantastic job to keep some of the most vulnerable members of our society safe.

"Suspending visits is not an easy decision and one we do with a heavy heart. We appreciate it will be hugely difficult for residents and their family and friends but we have to prioritise the safety of residents at a time when the number of cases is rising."

The ultimate decision on whether to allow visitors is the responsibility of individual managers.

It should be informed by national guidance, the opinion of the director of public health and an individual home's own risk assessment.

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