Covid epidemics have forced hundreds of homes across the country to shut down for new residents.
Some 70 per cent of homes run by the MHA — one of the UK’s largest not-for-profit care homes — are currently not accepting new residents, or 62 out of 84 homes.
And at Four Seasons Health Care — one of the country’s largest providers — 40 per cent of homes are not taking patients, or 54 out of 135 homes.
MailOnline was informed by sources in this sector that a third are unable to accept new residents because of strict Covid guidelines.
Under current rules, homes cannot take on new patients for 28 days after they have detected an outbreak of the virus — when two or more cases are detected.
The top NHS leader warned hospitals that too many emergency rooms could lead to overcrowding and render them unable or unwilling to discharge their patients.
Ministers are being urged by care organizations to shorten the quarantine time. They claim it is not in line with other countries. In England, self-isolation is possible after 7 days with 2 negative lateral flow test.
The sector of care is facing a crisis in staffing because many people are avoiding Covid and are suffering from unprecedented infections.
There are more than 90 England care home operators that have raised red alerts over potential shortages. This could affect the quality and safety of care.
With 183,000 Brits being sent into isolation every day on average, there are growing calls from experts, businesses and even NHS leaders to cut self-isolation to five days to avoid paralysing the economy and disrupting vital services.
At the moment, there are around 1.3million Britons under house arrest. The NHS, railway services and bin collections have all collapsed under the burden of absent staff.
20 NHS Trusts across England have already declared ‘critical incident’ due to increasing absences and Covid Pressures. Hospitals are beginning to stop operations.
The fourth wave of Covid jabs was introduced by the Government to make it mandatory for care homes in England. This led to around 35,000 staff being fired.
This graph displays the frequency of respiratory diseases in England’s care homes. When two or more respiratory disease cases are connected to one home, an outbreak can be declared. Covid data was available for 250 cases of respiratory disease in 252 incidents.
Mike Padgham is the chair of Independent Care Group, which represents Yorkshire homes. He warned that the number of homes that are unable to take new patients was growing every day.
MailOnline heard from him: “If houses are under pressure then it is going to make people ineligible to discharge them from the hospital.
Chris Hopson is the chief executive officer of NHS Providers. He represents hospitals trusts and said that having less homes available to receive patients was “very concerning”.
He told the Guardian that hospital bosses were reporting that delayed discharges were already adding to pressures, and making it harder to find beds for serious cases coming in from A&E.
He explained that it was bad for the patients, as patients can suffer from poor outcomes when they are not medically competent to be discharged but cannot go home.
To ensure that residents are still able to see their friends and loved ones, care home managers want to reduce the quarantine period from 28 days.
On the other hand, most people with the virus in Britain can be isolated after seven days of testing positive if they have not tested negative within the previous six to seven days.
The MHA’s chief executive Sam Monaghan said: ‘Once an outbreak is declared (often involving only two cases of Covid), everyone living in these homes can have essential care visits but no wider friends and family may visit for up to four weeks.
“Meanwhile in general, if we are negative for Covid six to seven days following a positive test, then we might be able to resume socializing immediately.
“This is an enormous disparity, and we need to see the Government review the scientific evidence and decide if different approaches really are required.
‘We are in a situation again where, for prolonged periods at a time, older people living in care homes across the country are unable to have visits with their family and friends.
“This is especially hard for dementia patients and loved ones. Their connections are an essential part of their care.
Care England spokesperson also suggested that the quarantine period be reduced. She said it was out of line with other societies.
The ministers should allow the homes to decide when they are allowed to come out of quarantine.
An outbreak is declared by the UK Health Security Agency when there are more than one case of that disease in a single setting.
Recent figures reveal that there have been 386 cases of respiratory infection in care homes during the week ending December 19.
This is more than twice the 163 that were detected in the first month.
One hundred and fifty-two cases of respiratory illness were reported in 252 instances.
The deterrenting situation at the NHS has seen hospitals cancelling operations because of rising infections and shortages.
Ministers reduced the time for self-isolation from 10 days to seven, provided that someone was negative on day six or seven by using lateral flow.
Boris Johnson is being pressured to move to the US. The US has reduced quarantine from five days to anyone with symptoms to just five.
Research has shown that most people do not become infected after five days. This gives other countries confidence to continue with their plans.
According to estimates, one in ten NHS workers is off sick or isolated. Yesterday’s speech by Mr Johnson revealed that plans have been made to call the Army in case the situation worsens.
Some 20 out of 137 hospital trusts in England have declared ‘critical incidents’ in recent days — or 16 per cent – signalling that they may struggle to deliver vital care to patients in the coming weeks. 17 hospitals within Greater Manchester also have begun to suspend operations.
Today, business leaders warned they were also struggling. Iceland’s managing director said that their absence graph was almost vertical and had more than twice the peak before.
As the virus spreads, train services and bin collection are also halted. Schools are warning of the possibility that not enough teachers are available to help them run their regular schedules.