Posted: Fri 7th Apr 2023

Routine covid testing for care home residents paused in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Apr 7th, 2023

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Routine covid testing for all symptomatic health and social care workers, care home residents, prisoners and staff and residents in special schools has been paused in Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Health Minister Eluned Morgan confirmed that routine testing for the above groups will stop during the spring and summer months. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It is one of several changes to the covid testing and TTP (Test Trace Protect) programme to be implemented. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ms Morgan said: “We remain in a Covid Stable situation – the virus is not putting the same pressure on our health and care system as it was at the start of the pandemic, and vaccines and other pharmaceutical interventions, including antivirals, have been effective in preventing serious illness. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“As we continue to move towards a future where we live alongside coronavirus, it is important our TTP programme also evolves so it provides a more responsive and sustainable model of health protection.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

From the start of this month testing or Covid-19 and other respiratory infections is being reduced for the spring and summer months. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In addition discussions have taken place between the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) regarding the UK Covid-19 alert level, which has also been paused. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ms Morgan said: “We are working with partners in health and social care to develop agile health protection teams, which can respond to varying levels of activity through the year according to national and regional demand. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This means responding not only to Covid-19 but adopting an “all-hazards” approach that includes planning for future pandemics. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The prevalent variants of coronavirus and the high rates of immunity in the population has meant that Covid-19 is currently a milder infection in most individuals. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Other circulating respiratory viruses, such as influenza and RSV, have fallen to lower levels since the peak in December. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Updated guidance will advise that people should be led by their symptoms when managing respiratory viruses. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“To protect our most vulnerable citizens from severe illness, testing will continue to support decisions around Covid-19 antiviral treatment in the community and settings such as care homes, to support the management of outbreaks in high-risk closed settings, where clinically indicated in secondary care settings and for surveillance purposes. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“While it is important to continue our transition to live safely with coronavirus, the threat has not gone away and we regret the UK Government’s decision to pause the Covid Infection Survey run by ONS while its long-term future is decided. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It is therefore vital we continue our surveillance plans in the community and high-risk settings to closely monitor case rates and analyse data about existing and emerging variants so we are able to quickly remobilise our response if necessary.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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