Those who work in care homes and other healthcare settings are most likely to have already been infected with COVID-19, the results of the world's largest home antibody testing programme show.
Findings from the REACT study, lead by Imperial College in London, were drawn from over 100,000 participants across England in July, who took a home finger prick test to discover if they had virus antibodies.
16% infection rate for care home workers
The infection rate for those working in care homes was shown to be 16%, and 12% for those working in other care settings - compared to 5% among those who were not key workers.
As well as this, the study found almost 50% of over-65s infected showed no symptoms, far higher than the 32% average suggested overall by the study. This is likely to have helped the infection spread undetected through care homes for longer.
The need to get tested
These findings show the “need for expanded testing in the care home setting in particular among staff and residents”, as the study authors say.
So far, promises to roll out weekly staff and resident testing in care homes have been woefully under-delivered. A leaked government memo has revealed the target date to begin weekly testing has been pushed to September 7th - a far cry from the original announcement of June 6th.
The study authors also said the figures suggest "infection control in the early months of the epidemic was inadequate in these settings and likely placed both staff and residents/patients at risk”.
We sadly agree with this statement, and believe it underlines the importance now for all care home and healthcare staff to be regularly tested.
This is the best way to help you protect yourself and the vulnerable residents you're in contact with.
You can book your own test here.
Find out more on our testing policy, and how you can stay safe using Florence, here: How Nurses and Carers can Help Stay Safe with a Weekly COVID Test
We’re here to help
We understand the uncertainty and stress coronavirus has brought to your working life, and we appreciate the incredible challenge frontline nurses and carers are facing.
Florence is working to keep you, residents and care homes protected from the spread of infection.