You are receiving this email as the manager of a care home in London the South East and East of England.

We are hosting a special webinar series to provide you with specific guidance for Tier 4, and answer your questions. Please sign up using the link below.

On Saturday the Prime Minister announced tougher restrictions for London and large parts of South East and East of England with a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level.

The decision follows a rapid rise in infections attributed to the rapid spread of a new variant of Coronavirus.

As a result, the following areas will move from Tier 3 to Tier 4:

·        Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings;

·        London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London); and

·        the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Essex excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).

Immediate steps that you should take

The Department of Health & Social Care has updated its guidance on care home visiting, which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

If your care home is located in a Tier 4 area, you will need to place some further restrictions on visiting – and go back to the arrangements that were in place during the most recent period of national restrictions in November and early December.

This means visits should only take place:

·        Outdoors – which can include at a window

·        In a visiting pod or similar type of arrangement.

·        Indoors as long as there is a substantial screen between the resident and visitor.

·        In exceptional circumstances, including end of life.

If your care home is located in a Tier 3 area, then the arrangements have not changed

The guidance provides further advice on how to deliver visiting as safely as possible – and underlines the importance that all visits are carried out in the context of robust Infection Prevention & Control measures, including appropriate PPE use, social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Sign up to our special care home testing webinars

To provide you with the updated guidance of how tier 4 will affect your care home and regular staff and resident testing, we will be hosting special webinars starting tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd December).

To sign up to attend one of these webinars please click here:
https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1369434&tp_key=296e54cdc9

A recording of the webinars will be made available an hour after they finish.

Additional guidance for care homes in Tier 4

We will be writing to you tomorrow with further guidance for homes in Tier 4 areas, and we will be going through this guidance in our webinars starting this week.

Additional guidance will include increasing the number of lateral flow tests available to care homes in Tier 4 areas so that more frequent testing of staff can be done to identify positive cases as quickly as possible.

Who should you contact in an emergency?

Please remember that if, at any stage, someone at your organisation cannot cope with their symptoms, or their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days, use the https://111.nhs.uk/COVID-19 service or call NHS 111. In a medical emergency, dial 999.

Thank you,

NHS Test and Trace