COVID-19 cases rise in care home

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in care homes rose 61 per cent over the Christmas and New Year period, according to new COVID and flu surveillance data from Public Health England.

During the week (28 December 2020 to 3 January 2021) laboratory reports note there were 749 acute respiratory incidents, including flu (ARIs) from care homes where 549 had at least one confirmed linked case that tested positive for COVID-19. This represents 57 per cent of all new ARI incidents for that week.

Compared to the previous week, there were 478 ARIs from care homes, where 341 had at least one linked confirmed case that tested positive for COVID-19 where test results were available.

In the week to January 3, care homes represented 58 per cent of all confirmed ARIs. Over the past four weeks, the ARI rate in care homes has been 45 per cent of total.

PHE data shows that over the past week most confirmed ARIs are located in the south east (190 cases), followed by the east of England, London and south west. Total ARIs in care homes over the past four weeks are almost five times the number seen in workplace settings. However, as a percentage of total confirmed weekly COVID cases, the incidence of COVID-19 in care homes has almost halved over the past five weeks.

On Friday 8 January, the Department of Health and Social Care licensed the Moderna vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine licensed for UK use. Efficacy studies from US regulators suggest effectiveness of 86 per cent in people aged over 65 years. This compares to the unproven efficacy of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine in older people.

The DHSC has pledged to complete vaccination of all people aged over 70 years, and those classed s clinically extremely vulnerable, by February 15.

In the USA, the Moderna vaccine has been available since mid-December.

Surveillance indicators suggest that COVID-19 activity at a national level has continued to increase, while influenza activity is low. The flu vaccination rate in 86+ year olds is 80.3 per cent, the highest rate ever recorded.

  • According to newly published research in ESC Heart Failure, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), patients with acute heart failure nearly double their risk of dying if they get COVID-19. This small, Bristol based study once again emphasises the need for patients with heart failure to take extra precautions to avoid infection. The British Society for Heart Failure has published a range of COVID-19 resources for care professionals
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