MORE than £500,000 is set to be injected into providing Covid self-isolation at a care home in Essex amid fears of a winter wave.

Essex County Council says the contract with Cedars Care Home, in Halstead, will ensure there is adequate capacity available to provide short-term care to adults who are fit enough to be discharged from acute care but are either waiting for care in their own home, require a short stay in a care setting or have tested positive for Covid.

Essex County Council is spending up to £550,000 to continue and adapt the use of the 15-bed Covid positive isolation unit within Cedars Care Home for six months from August 2022 to January 2023.

Whilst it is no longer mandatory to have these isolation sites available for residents, care home providers have expressed concerns about admitting Covid patients into general areas.

Cedars Care Home has been identified as being capable of housing older adults with Covid within its 15-bed isolation unit, whilst accommodating non-Covid adults within the main home, should demand increase.

Essex County Council says that as the pandemic is ongoing and with Covid cases remaining high, provision is still required and that it is still necessary to have an isolation unit or alternative capacity to reduce pressure in community settings and to ensure there are suitable discharge pathways for Covid-positive adults.

In entering a new contract, Essex County Council says it will have the flexibility to change the unit between either Covid-positive isolation or a Covid-negative setting within a short period of time to meet the demand of pressures at the time.

During winter 2021/22, when Covid cases were high, its maximum usage was 22 and more recently in June 2022 lowered to 11.

Although cases in the UK are currently dropping, a combined flu vaccine and Covid booster campaign is being planned amid concerns that Covid will again surge alongside a potential severe flu season as the country heads into winter.