You are here
Introduction to and spread of COVID-19-like illness in care homes in Norfolk, UK
28 Dec 2020
Journal of Public Health, Volume 43, Issue 2, June 2021, Pages 228–235
Brainard J, Rushton S, Winters T, Hunter PR
Abstract Background Residential care homes for the elderly are important settings for transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease. Methods We undertook secondary analysis of 248 care homes in Norfolk, UK. The dataset counted nurses, care workers and non-care workers, their status (available, absent due to leave or sickness and extra staff needed to address the coronavirus pandemic) and residents (if any) with suspected COVID-19 in the period 6 April to 6 May 2020. Concurrent descriptions of access by the home to personal protection equipment (PPE: gloves, masks, eye protection, aprons and sanitizer) were in the data. PPE access was categorized as (most to least) green, amber or red. We undertook two-stage modelling, first for suspected COVID-19 cases amongst residents and second relating any increases in case counts after introduction to staffing or PPE levels. Results Counts of non-care workers had strongest relationships (P < 0.05) to introduction of suspected SARS-CoV-2 to the homes. Higher staff levels and more severe PPE shortages were linked to higher case counts (P < 0.05) during the monitoring period. Conclusion Managing aspects of staff interaction with residents and some working practices might reduce ingression to and spread of COVID-19-like illness within care homes.