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Outbreak management

Care Provider Incident Room (CPIR)


Telephone: 01603 257231

Use CPIR to report outbreaks and incidents of COVID-19 among your client populations and/or staff teams.

See the GOV.UK website for COVID-19: infection prevention and control

Visiting residents in care settings

Government guidance on visiting in care homes was updated on 1 December. The following should be read in conjunction with this guidance.

While residents and families will welcome these changes, our first priority must remain preventing infections in care homes. 

This means that visiting should still be limited, taking on board the individual circumstances of each care home and with alternatives provided, wherever possible. This may include telephone or online video visits. 

The government guidance states that for visiting to take place care providers must ensure that:

  • The setting is free from Covid 19 (i.e. not under outbreak conditions or with symptomatic staff or residents), and
  • They have undertaken a risk assessment, identified means to mitigate against risks and set out how safe visiting will be achieved

These dynamic risk assessments should be in line with government guidance and based on the specific circumstances and needs of the individual care setting, considering:

  • The well-being and safety of residents and staff
  • The external Covid 19 environment, including the amount of infection in the local community
  • The significant vulnerability of residents

In the event of an outbreak in a care home and/or evidence of local community hotspots or outbreaks care providers may be advised by us to rapidly impose more stringent visiting restrictions to protect residents, staff and visitors.

Where can visits take place?

  • Telephone or video should remain the primary means of contact
  • Outdoor visits (e.g. in communal gardens) or drive through visits should be considered as an alternative to visits in the residents’ own room or indoor communal areas
  • Window visits are an option if the resident can’t access the outdoors
  • Visits in residents’ own room or designated indoor visiting space can take place if the above options are not possible. The visitor should go direct to the room upon arrival and depart the home immediately afterwards

Who will this apply to?

  • Residents who are particularly vulnerable to Covid 19 may need to be excluded from these new visiting arrangements. This may include those with existing respiratory conditions or suppressed immune systems. This will need to be balanced with the benefits of visiting to their overall wellbeing
  • Consideration must also be given to the well-being needs of residents and the benefits of visiting and an individual risk assessment and must balance the benefits to residents against the risk
  • Visiting should be limited to a single, constant visitor per resident
  • Booking procedures must be in place – no ad hoc visits should be allowed
  • Visitors must be free from Covid 19 (or other) symptoms and must be screened before entering the home

Where visits do take place there are some practical measures to mitigate any risks:

  • Strict observation of social distancing - 2 metres apart
  • Physical visits to be time limited – 15 minutes
  • Face coverings should be worn with alternative considered were this may cause distress to residents
  • Use of partitions/screens may be a viable option
  • Single visitor for each resident
  • Booked appointments – restricting the number of visitors in the setting at any one time and preventing ad hoc visits
  • Maintaining a record of visits/visitors in line with test and trace requirements
  • Dedicated entrance/exit routes for visitors
  • Provision for handwashing/hand sanitiser
  • Cleaning and disinfection of resident’s room/dedicated visiting room immediately prior to and after the visit plus access corridors and touch points frequently during visiting period
  • Advising on transport to and from visits, including advising against the use of public transport or vehicles shared with persons from outside the household
  • Restriction on gifts brought into the home, advising against those that cannot be sanitised e.g. flowers

Providers will need to act in accordance with the government guidance and stay up to date, as the guidance may be periodically updated.

If you have any questions, email

Stopping the spread of coronavirus

Social distancing rules apply to us all – including people whose job requires them to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consider the example set by your staff whilst working in public or publicly visible spaces (eg when in the grounds of your service or in the community) and the potential for police involvement if they fail to observe social distancing rules. The Council expects services it commissions and staff delivering those services to observe legal obligations at all times. See Coronavirus information.

Our Coronavirus toolkit includes posters on social distancing, responsible shopping and daily exercise which you may find useful in your services.

Staff movement between care homes

COVID-19 and staff movement between care homes - 3 July 2020

Healthcare professionals - access to residential and nursing homes

We appreciate that providers have restricted visitors to their residential and nursing homes. We would expect that healthcare professionals who need access to their patients during this time are able to continue to have access. Please ensure your effective infection control processes enable safe access. This also applies to staff who are part of the equipment service; delivering, installing, maintaining and collecting equipment. They have all received the appropriate training and have PPE to enable them to carry out their role safely.


Safeguarding, locality and Quality Assurance teams may also require access to your service to follow up a section 42 safeguarding enquiry. A risk assessed and pragmatic approach is being adopted to avoid attending but it may be necessary. All colleagues will observe appropriate infection control protocols.

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