Social care services in Carmarthenshire are straining under the significant pressure of Covid-19 the council has revealed.
Both council-run and private care homes across the county are battling the impact of the virus on vulnerable people requiring care with a reduced workforce as large numbers of carers are forced to self-isolate.
Carmarthenshire County Council is urging people to support their efforts to care for the most vulnerable by heeding the Welsh Government’s stay at home message and helping slow the spread of Covid-19 in our communities.
Currently, there are 34 care homes in Carmarthenshire with Covid-19 cases, or unable to take placements as they recover from an outbreak.
Ten care homes are so severely affected by Covid-19 that the council has had to step in to provide support and extra staffing – in one case taking over the management of a home temporarily as staff and management were unable to work.
Domiciliary care is also affected by staff shortages, with many carers unable to work as they have to self-isolate, so much so that the authority is currently only able to deliver essential care.
Jake Morgan, the council’s Director of Communities, said social care services are facing significant challenges.
“Over the last few weeks social care has been under significant pressure to maintain critical services,” he said. “The overwhelming challenge for many homes is to maintain safe staffing levels and we are providing services and staff directly to support a number of homes in the county.
“There are a range of contingencies that we have put in place to mitigate the risk over the coming weeks and I am pleased that through the efforts of our dedicated care and health staff that the vast majority of clients who contract Covid-19 are able to make a full recovery.
“Staff across social care are going above and beyond what could be expected of them to support and protect vulnerable people, and I want to thank them personally for their continued commitment.”
Cllr Jane Tremlett, Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care, said the risks would remain high until the vaccine roll-out is completed for vulnerable users and care staff, and urged people to play a part in the efforts to protect the most vulnerable.
“Risks have been high across the sector over Christmas and will remain so until the vaccine roll-out is completed. Thankfully, we are already seeing the benefit to those care homes who received the vaccine before Christmas.
“We are close to the vaccine having a real protective effect in our communities and I would ask everyone in the county to do their bit to prevent the spread of the virus and give us the best chance to protect our most vulnerable.”