FAMILIES across Worcestershire will not be allowed visit loved ones in care homes in an effort to protect the elderly from Covid-19.

Worcestershire County Council Public Health teams have taken the precautionary decision to close visits to all care homes with immediate effect.

Only essential or compassionate visits will be allowed.

Extra Care and Supported Living will be subject to the same restrictions. 

It's in response to a rise in coronavirus cases and problems with testing in the county.

The council said testing problems are leading to unreliable daily positive figures, but said Public Health teams must work on the basis that positive cases are rising and the risk to residents is increasing.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, director for Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “ We have been assessing the situation in Worcestershire very closely.

"The decision to stop care home, extra care and supported living visits is a difficult one to take. We have tried to balance the emotional health and wellbeing of our residents, with keeping them safe from Covid.

"By stopping visits county wide, we are acting to protect our vulnerable residents from the virus.

"I appreciate this will be upsetting and frustrating for families and I want to reassure you that we have acted to save lives. We will continue to review this situation.

"For now this is a sensible precautionary measure, it is better to act sooner rather than later.”

Councillor Adrian Hardman, cabinet member for adult social care, added: “This will be difficult for many families and residents, but we must protect our elderly and vulnerable from the spread of Covid.

"The virus has not disappeared, it’s still with us in our community and this is a reminder to us all that we all have our part to play to keep everyone safe. Please keep your distance, wash your hands and wear face coverings. It really is simple to do and you will be saving lives.”

Will you or your loved ones be affected by the new care home restrictions in Worcestershire? We want to hear from you. Email emily.collis@newsquest.co.uk.