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Routine asymptomatic testing for Covid in hospitals and care homes across Wales will be ‘suspended’

Routine asymptomatic testing for Covid in hospitals and care homes across Wales will be ‘suspended’
Routine asymptomatic testing for Covid in hospitals and care homes across Wales will be ‘suspended’

Routine asymptomatic testing for Covid-19 in hospitals, care homes and hospices in Wales will be ‘suspended’ from September 8.

Asymptomatic testing for visitors to care homes, visitors to people eligible for Covid-19 treatments and inmates admitted to prisons will also be suspended.

In a written statement, Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social care, said the decision was made due to a “decline in the prevalence of Covid-19 in communities and hospitals following the recent surge caused by the BA.4 and BA.5” subtypes. of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Earlier this week the UK was moved to covid alert level two – the lowest since the start of the pandemic.

Ms Morgan said: ‘Vaccines continue to be our best defense and we have just started rolling out the Covid-19 fall booster vaccine. Everyone who is eligible will be offered a booster shot by December and I encourage everyone to take up the offer.

She said: “As we enter fall and winter and respiratory viruses become more common, we can protect each other by following simple steps, such as washing our hands frequently, staying home and avoid contact with others if you have symptoms and wear a face covering in healthcare settings and crowded indoor places.

“Based on the latest available clinical advice on the benefits of asymptomatic testing when the prevalence of coronavirus is lower, from September 8 we will make changes to our testing arrangements in health and social care.”

“We will pause regular asymptomatic testing of staff in the following settings, the NHS (including independent healthcare providers treating NHS patients), social care settings, including care homes and wards palliative care and special schools.

“We will also suspend asymptomatic testing for visitors to care homes, visitors to people eligible for Covid-19 treatments and prisoners admitted to prisons.”

She added: “As part of our patient testing framework, decisions regarding the need for asymptomatic testing for patients will be based on local decisions and risk assessment, which will be based on clinical judgment regarding the risk to the patient, for others, the nature of the procedure and local prevalence/epidemics.

Ms Morgan said: “We will continue to provide symptomatic testing for patients, those eligible for Covid-19 treatments, health and social care staff, care home residents and prisoners. We will also continue to provide testing for people being discharged from hospital to care homes. For care home residents, prisoners and some patients, we provide multiplex tests that detect Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses.

“We will present our approach to respiratory viruses during the autumn / winter in October. This will include increasing our surveillance and the use of multiplex testing due to the potential threat of a new wave of Covid-19 infections and a difficult respiratory season.

She said: “We will continue to review the most recent surveillance data and keep the position on the tests under review. The guidelines will be updated and shared with the NHS and social care providers by September 8. »

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