COVID-19 is erupting in Malta’s nursing homes, where some of the most vulnerable people live, after residences recorded a massive surge of 117 cases over a single week.
Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci revealed the alarming figure in today’s press conference, adding that the total number of cases (including recoveries) inside nursing homes is now 178.
St Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Fgura has been worst affected, accounting for roughly 86 cases this week. Casa Antonia has also been hit hard this week, making up the bulk of the remaining cases.
Elderly care homes have since been instructed to adopt a ‘bubble’ system among their residents so as to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In a set of protocols released yesterday, the Social Care Standards Authority said care home residents must only have physical contact with people in their ‘bubble’ and not mingle with residents from other floors or wards.
Staff and residents will be swabbed regularly and every member of staff will have their temperature taken twice a day and must constantly wear a mask visor. Residents and staff alike will also be offered flu shots.
Elderly people aren’t allowed to leave their home unless they have a medical appointment or require medical treatment. New residents must spend 14 days in quarantine while those entering after receiving hospital treatment must be quarantined for five days.
Residents who have outpatient appointments won’t be quarantined but care homes must conduct “the necessary controls” to assess any symptoms they may develop.
Visitors must wear masks and visors and there should be no physical contact whatsoever, with communication taking place behind a perspex screen. Visitors must sanitise their hands both before and after the visit and the area must be disinfected between visits.
Any food to elderly people must be provided in sealed or disposable containers and must not be handed directly to the residents, but to carers.
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