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Eight care homes in Cheshire East are experiencing coronavirus outbreaks, councillors have been told.

The figure was revealed at CEC’s health and adults social care and communities scrutiny committee, where an “outbreak” is classed as “two or more related cases amongst staff and residents”.

This is up from five care homes recorded in a pre-meeting report sent to councillors, which was compiled at the end of last week.

Cllr Laura Jeuda, CEC cabinet member for adult social care and health, said before the meeting: “We can confirm that there have been new coronavirus cases reported in five of our care homes.

“These cases have been picked up as a result of the increased, and more robust, routine whole care home testing.

“This represents early detection that can lead to more rapid isolation of individuals, reducing the likelihood of more cases of symptomatic disease within the homes.

“Our quality assurance team are working very closely with the affected homes, to ensure they have all the support they need.

“The homes affected are complying with all infection control measures.”

Primarily, the outbreaks have been driven by “an increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases among staff” with the majority of such staff being asymptomatic.

The report added that cross-border transmission was also a factor in the rising case numbers: “Information has been collected from CEC care homes located close to the Greater Manchester border, particularly in relation to the number of staff who live in Greater Manchester and what processes the care homes have in place because of this.

“One home close to the border, where 70 percent of the workforce come from the Greater Manchester area, has had a reoccurrence of Covid-19 positive cases, initially in staff.

“CEC have escalated this to the Regional Testing Group and have sent a list of CEC homes close to the border to the Group and requested priority testing for those homes if required.”

Based on this, the report says work is being done to understand which age brackets in Greater Manchester are experiencing higher levels of infection — in order to ‘understand the risks to care homes near the border with Greater Manchester and put support in place for them’.

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