Covid-19 outbreak at Torquay care home

Community testing site at Goodrington, Paignton

The community testing site at Goodrington, Paignton. - Credit: Ed Oldfield

An outbreak of Covid-19 in a care home has pushed up the infection rate in Torbay.

Health officials have put measures in places to contain the outbreak and prevent the virus spreading into the community after 11 residents and 20 staff tested positive.

Torbay’s director of public health Dr Lincoln Sargeant said no-one had died and it appeared vaccinations had reduced the severity of the disease for residents.

He said infection control measures were in place and staff were self-isolating to prevent transmission.

Dr Sargeant said the outbreak was identified during routine testing of workers at the unnamed care home.

The public health director said the overall trend of infections in Torbay was still downwards, but due to the relatively low numbers involved, the Torquay outbreak had pushed up the most recent rate.

He said on Thursday the latest seven-day infection rate in Torbay was 37.4 cases per 100,000 population, up from a previous low of 23.

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Dr Sargeant said the return to school at the start of the week had seen 11,000 lateral flow tests carried out in Torbay, which produced four positive results.

He said: “The overall pattern is the background rates are falling, and that is very positive.”

The director said it was important that people carried on with infection control measures, including social distancing and wearing face masks, as it would be wrong to believe that the vaccination rollout meant life could return to normal.

Community testing was being used to detect asymptomatic cases, where people had the infection but did not show symptoms, so cases could be found early and contacts traced to stop the virus spreading.

Dr Sargeant said it was important to keep cases low to continue to follow the roadmap out of lockdown.

He said: “We need to continue to be vigilant. We need to have a slow and deliberate exit as we come out of restrictions. The wrong signal to send is that it is all over and we can go back to normal.”