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Dear Friends,

We have now had confirmation that all of the results of the initial round of testing carried out at the Home last weekend are negative. This suggests strongly that the two positive results last week represented unconnected cases, the individuals involved having coincidentally picking up the infection outside of the Home during the same week.
We are now reasonably confident about that, but staff at the Home were tested again in the middle of the week, and we are now in the midst of another round of testing for everyone, including residents. All being well, we should have all of the results of these additional tests by Monday.
If you are due to visit the Home in the next week, we would still be grateful if you could telephone on the morning of your visit just to check the situation has not changed.

An update to the government guidance on Visits to Care Homes was issued yesterday evening, following the publication of the Winter Plan, and also the new system of 'Tiers' reflecting differences in the situation around England. From an initial reading, there isn't anything in the new guidance that will mean we need to change our current policy but we will be reading it in more detail next week.
It is probably more likely that any changes will come as a result of increasing infection rates in the Portsmouth area. Thankfully the rate here is much lower than in many places but the rise in the last couple of weeks has been significant. We were given some figures on local rates at the care home briefing today and I will include them at the bottom of this message.

You may have seen coverage in the media of a pilot scheme which allows care homes to designate a small number of visitors as 'key workers', and thus include those people in their weekly testing routine and makes it much easier for visits to take place. Through the Care Association Alliance, our local Care Association is pressing very hard for this type of scheme to be expanded, and we believe it's very important that this happens before rates rise much further. [Care Home visiting in 'Tier 2' and 'Tier 3' areas is otherwise limited to 'emergency' visits only.]  
We understand that the Minister for Care, Helen Whately, is taking a close interest in this pilot, and will let you know as soon as we have any information about it's potential expansion.
In the meantime, we appreciate how difficult the situation is for all of you and for our residents, and we are very grateful to you for your support and understanding.

As always, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. We hope you and your loved ones continue to keep safe and well.

The average rate across England is that 150 people per 100,000 people are estimated to be infected with Covid19.
(If you met a random person, the chances of that person being infected are 0.15%)
The highest rate in the country is in Nottingham, where 828 people in every 100,000 are infected.
In Liverpool, where new regulations have just come in, 563 people in every 100,000 are infected.
In Hampshire, the average is 43 people in every 100,000
In the city of Portsmouth, the estimate is 64 people in every 100,000
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