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News Due Within Days On Opening Care Homes To Visitors

News is expected within days on a plan to reopen Jersey care homes to visitors, possibly from next week.

The Health Minister says the government is working with the Care Commission and Care Home managers as a priority to get this done 'as soon as possible'.

In a statement, Deputy Richard Renouf says officers are working on guidance to make sure residents, staff, and visitors stay as safe as possible.

Added mitigations will be in place, which is due to include a testing regime for visitors.

"I am pleased to confirm that vaccination levels amongst care home residents has been high, offering a greater level of protection for these vulnerable residents. With the addition of the mitigation measures being finalised within the policy, we can enable visits to start again as soon as possible.

"I’d like to thank Deputy Montfort Tadier for his interest and commitment to ensure that this policy is at the forefront of our work to reconnect the Island."

Deputy Tadier has raised the issue in the States Assembly and met the Minister and Doctor Muscat before and after this past weekend to find a way forward.

He argued that residents were being isolated from friends and family for too long, which was having a negative impact on their wellbeing.

He's told Channel 103 that this news is long overdue.

"I can understand it's a sensitive issue, we want to do our utmost to keep everyone safe including the elderly and the vulnerable.

"But as I've said, it's important to balance that with their emotional and mental wellbeing as well.

"There will be a testing regime in place for visitors and the usual PPE and other precautions will take place, so of course it's important to never get complacent.

"But I also think that family members and loved ones already know that before they visit and they generally won't be taking any unnecessary risks with their own health or the health of their loved ones."

Care home visits in Jersey were suspended in early December as a precaution to stop the virus spreading and to allow care home residents to be safely vaccinated.

The latest data on vaccine uptake in Jersey is due to be released tomorrow (28 January).

As of Sunday 17 January,  5,845 first doses had been administered, along with 2,009 second doses - bringing the total to 7,854.

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