Following our conversations with MHCLG, we have compiled a short update on the latest available information, guidance on how to manage contract tracing and infection control in supported housing settings, and guidance on managing hospital discharge to supported housing schemes.
Latest available information
- Contact tracers should be following up with people who have had contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes within two metres distance.
- The best approach is to minimise the risk of infection by ensuring PPE is used appropriately and face masks worn where contact is likely to happen.
- Minimising opportunities for contact across wider teams is recommended. For example reducing staff working across sites where possible and minimising the number of staff each worker has contact with.
- Supported housing landlords and providers should review services and operating practices regularly.
Guidance on how providers can reduce the risk of spreading the infection:
- Undertake ongoing risk assessments of each setting including the vulnerability of residents, the levels of support and care provided, and the physical conditions in the operating environment.
- Continue to adapt services and practices and adopting social distancing measures wherever possible.
- Continue to use PPE where needed and ensure workers are regularly updated on how to use PPE (especially donning and doffing).
- Where possible, avoid or minimise staff deployment to more than one location.
- Aim to minimise and carefully manage visits where feasible.
Where there are suspected or identified cases of infection, supported housing providers and staff should comply with the published guidance on testing and tracing workplaces.
Where there is a risk of multiple cases of coronavirus, or the risk of an outbreak across a whole team providing an essential service, providers should work with the contract tracing team to seek tailored advice if possible from the outbreak control team, the local authority or Public Health England, to help manage the outbreak.
Guidance when managing hospital discharge to supported housing schemes:
- The supported housing team at MHCLG have been advised by Public Health England that when residents are discharged from hospital into supported housing schemes, staff should work on the assumption that the new resident is infected with coronavirus and should self-isolate for fourteen days upon arrival.
- All patients being discharged from hospital into supported schemes or care homes are now being tested for coronavirus and only discharged if the test result is negative.
- However, the possibility of false negatives or the patient having only just contracted the virus means that housing providers should still exercise extreme caution and encourage the resident to self-isolate.