A commitment to prioritise Covid-19 testing for staff at a Derry care home is a step in the right direction but more must be done to protect workers and residents, Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said.
The Foyle MLA was commenting after challenging the Department of Health over the level of protections at Owen Mor Care Home where it has been confirmed that six residents have tested positive for Covid-19.
Martina Anderson said: “The Department of Health has confirmed to me that priority access to the local Covid-19 testing centre will be afforded to Owen Mor staff who are showing symptoms.
“Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) has also been made available and while these are steps in the right direction, it should not have taken a lobby to make them happen.
“It also remains the case that every possible step must be taken to protect the residents and staff, not just at Owen Mor but at all care homes.
“Testing needs to be much more widespread if we are to effectively fight this virus.
“It’s also outrageous that front line health care workers providing invaluable care for patients in local communities are being left to feel that they are not being supported and protected.
“Residential homes and domiciliary care providers are front line health-care workers and should be properly protected in terms of PPE and testing, particularly as physical distancing isn’t possible when caring for patients.”
NOTES TO EDITORS: Attached is a copy of the correspondence sent to Martina Anderson MLA in response to her concerns.