Most people admitted to adult care homes in North Ayrshire and Scotland will no longer have to self-isolate for two weeks under new guidance issued to care home operators.
People transferring from hospitals to care homes will no longer need to isolate if they have had a negative PCR test in the previous 48 hours, so long as they have no symptoms of a respiratory virus and have not been exposed to COVID-19 over the previous 14 days.
The isolation period for care home residents testing positive for COVID-19, or for close contacts of COVID cases, is also being cut from 14 days to 10 days to bring restrictions closer to those for the general public.
The measures are being taken in line with clinical and public health advice, recognising the high levels of vaccination in care homes and the need to balance the risk and impact of infection for people living in a communal setting against the potential harms caused to residents by long periods self-isolating.
Residents who have been in hospital for acute overnight stays will also no longer need to isolate, and will not need a negative PCR test, provided there is no clinical reason to think that they have COVID.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Moving into a new care home can be daunting in itself, let alone if you are then unable to see your loved ones in the first two weeks. Care home residents and visitors alike will be pleased that we are now at a stage where a negative PCR test provides enough assurances to drop that self-isolation requirement.
“Decreasing the self-isolation period for those who have tested positive by four days so it is now ten days rather than two weeks, will also make a huge difference from a mental health perspective.
“While there should be no set limits to the number of households visiting each resident, it is up to the management of each care home to determine group sizes and numbers, taking into account the size of the visiting area and other factors.
“The SNP Government also advises against imposing restrictions on frequency and duration of visits which will guided by care home arrangements and circumstances.”