Visitors to care homes in Fife are being reminded to follow the latest guidance to help reduce the number of vulnerable residents contracting COVID-19.
While transmission rates of COVID-19 in Fife’s communities had been lower in recent months, a sharp rise in the spread of the virus across Scotland in the last few weeks is helping to fuel an increase in clusters of virus within the Kingdom’s care homes.
To help prevent COVID-19 from being brought into care homes, visitors are being reminded of the importance of testing for the virus before visiting loved ones. Home COVID test kits remain free-of-charge for those visiting care homes and hospitals and information on how to order test kits is available at: www.nhsfife.org/testing.
Visitors to care homes are also being reminded not to attend if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms, regardless of how mild, and even if they test negative for COVID-19.
Advice for people visiting care homes has changed and general information is available on the NHS Inform website. Friends and family are encouraged to check any additional protections with individual Care Homes before they visit.
NHS Fife’s Director of Public Health, Dr Joy Tomlinson, 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.
“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, therefore, that we take all reasonable precautions to limit the opportunity for COVID to be spread within our care homes.
“Clusters of COVID-19 in care homes also has a significant effect on hospitals in Fife, 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.
“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, therefore, is a relatively simple one – please test for COVID-19 before visiting a care home in Fife, and if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, please 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”