A warning has been issued over the “exceptionally challenging times” for care homes in Scotland as figures indicate a rising number of positive Covid cases.
Statistics published by the Scottish Government show that 206 positive cases were confirmed amongst residents in Scottish care homes between September 6 and September 12, the latest figures on record.
It is a marked increase on the 155 cases recorded in the previous period between August 30 and September 5.
In stark contrast earlier in the year, between May 31 and June 6, only four positive cases amongst residents were confirmed, with the total figure not rising above 49 until August 23 when it jumped to 104.
Similarly, there has been a rise in the number of positive Covid cases confirmed amongst care home staff.
In the latest period, between September 6 and September 12, there were 201 cases confirmed.
The figure did represent a slight drop in the number recorded in the previous period between August 30 and September 5 (219), but it was still a rise on the 144 cases recorded between August 23 and August 29.
Between May 31 and June 6, there were 19 confirmed positive cases recorded in all Scottish care homes.
The number of staff absences due to Covid-19 has also risen of late, with 3028 absences (from the week to September 14), 3298 absences (from the week to September 7), and 3089 (from the week to August 31).
It is an increase on the 1983 staff absences due to Covid-19 reported from the week to August 24.
On Friday, the CEO of Scottish Care, Donald Macaskill, warned of the challenge facing the sector.
He wrote: “These are exceptionally challenging times for care homes in Scotland.
“We have the highest number of Covid outbreaks since Feb and sadly the highest number of deaths since March.
“Please do all you can to support your local care home residents and workforce.”
Social care minister Kevin Stewart said: “We recognise this a very difficult time for care homes. We will continue to support the sector and to actively monitor the situation.
“It remains a priority that we protect people living in care homes both from the risks of harm from Covid-19 and from separation from the people and activities important to them.
“The rise in cases within our communities shows just how infectious the virus is and this is reflected to some extent in the increase in the number of outbreaks in care homes, even with protections in place. Since the vaccine, many fewer residents are becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid-19.
“There is however no room for complacency and we all must continue to be vigilant and follow the protective measures in care homes including rigorous infection prevention and control, testing, and with support from enhanced local multi-disciplinary oversight teams.
“This is especially important when Covid-19 levels in the community are high.
“That is we why are supporting care homes to improve and embed residents’ meaningful contact and activities in line with guidance and supported by the multiple layers of protection in place against Covid, not least the vaccination booster programme which is soon to begin.
“The latest information shows 87% of reporting homes support indoor visiting and increased numbers support daily visits and multiple visitors.”