Shropshire’s largest independent care provider has today announced it is taking significant steps to protect the health of residents in its 14 care homes.

As part of a major response to the COVID-19 threat, Coverage Care Services remains open for admissions and visits from health and social care professionals as well as urgent suppliers. But is now actively discouraging all non-essential visitors to its homes around the county.

This includes family and friends of residents as well as non-urgent visitors who might routinely visit the homes. Plans are being made to use technology, including video calls, to keep people in touch and support other normal activities wherever possible.

Infection control measures and enhanced staff training are all now in place, while steps to manage staffing in the safest possible way are being prepared in the event of a more widespread outbreak.

However the not-for-profit group is determined to continue receiving new residents on a risk-assessed basis as part of the county’s response to protecting vulnerable citizens and has already been approached by families looking to place loved ones in the homes where they can be cared for and protected, rather than remaining in the community.

Chief Executive for Coverage Care, David Coull, explained: “We fully understand that no-one wants to be cut off from their loved ones, especially at a time like this, but we have a huge responsibility to an often highly vulnerable group in our community and have to take this threat more seriously than anything we have ever faced. The protection of the people in our care and of our staff is our first and over-riding priority at this time.

“We do appreciate our measures are currently going further than official advice demands, but we are acting out of an abundance of caution having seen that this virus can appear in the least expected places. We will continue to make the most strenuous efforts to protect everyone, while understanding that this will be a difficult time for many.”

We will help relatives of those to whom we provide care and support to follow additional control measures in order to protect their loved ones but also themselves.

Mr Coull added: “While no relatives and friends are at this stage being actively barred from entering the homes, we are asking people to act responsibly and support us in keeping their loved one safe. We are also asking for their understanding that we are only doing this with the very best motives in mind and we ask for their patience and to stay away while we get through this extremely difficult phase containing the spread of the virus. Anyone who does insist on entering the premises, against our strong recommendation, will be given clear instructions and advice on the impact of their action and movements while in our home.”

Anyone with any concerns or seeking should contact the relevant Coverage Care home for further advice for up-to-date information.