No evidence Shropshire care home Covid outbreaks were caused by hospital discharges, say health bosses
There is no evidence that the coronavirus outbreaks seen in 43 of Shropshire’s 120 care homes were caused by patients being discharged from hospital, according to health bosses.
Assurance was given at a meeting of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board in response to concerns raised by a member of the public about the safety of care home residents and staff.
Chairing the meeting, Dr Julian Povey, chairman of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, told members that while a number of homes had come forward to accept Covid-positive patients being discharged from hospital into specially-commissioned beds, there was no evidence this had led to transmission of the virus among other residents.
A public question to the board from Diane Peacock said: “On the basis of widely available data was there any correlation between hospital discharges into local care homes and subsequent patterns of Covid-19 cases in local care homes between March and mid-May?
“If yes, what was the degree of correlation and how did this inform multi-agency planning to minimise future risks?”
Dr Povey confirmed that 43 care homes experienced an outbreak, defined by Public Health England as two or more suspected or confirmed cases, between the beginning of March and mid-July.
But he said these outbreaks, “do not have a correlation to hospital discharge as we do not have the evidence to suggest this was where the outbreak started.”
On March 31 the council invited care homes to tender for contracts to provide dedicated beds for patients who no longer needed hospital treatment but “could or would be Covid-positive”, said Dr Povey.
The contracts were commissioned in April and remain in place.
Dr Povey said: “Initial reports from feedback from the care homes managers who secured the contracts advised transmission of Covid-19 in the one group of care homes that have received residents who have a Covid-positive result is low.
“Additionally, two care homes that initially had outbreaks before they went live with the recovery beds contract have not seen further outbreaks following residents being placed from hospital, further suggesting there is no correlation between hospital discharges of Covid-positive placements and Covid -19 outbreaks.”
Mrs Peacock had also asked whether there was any correlation between the number of coronavirus cases in the early months of the pandemic and staff absence or agency cover, but Dr Povey said the information was not available.