A total of 19 staff and residents at a Co. Armagh care home have tested positive for Covid-19.
A total of 14 residents and five staff members at Sandringham Care Home in Portadown came back positive for the coronavirus.
It comes as Health Minister Robin Swann hit upon the issue of care homes on Wednesday as he confirmed plans to “significantly expand” testing for Covid-19 across the sector.
A spokesperson for Four Seasons Health Care, who run the Portadown home, said residents were tested from May 1 after a number of them showed symptoms.
The spokesperson commented: “Some results came back as early as May 3 with all results available by Thursday 7th. The families of residents were informed that testing was taking place and of the results of the tests.
“The initial testing showed that seven residents, tested positive for Covid-19 as well as five members of staff.
“The total number of residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 is now 14.
“Management and staff in Sandringham are adhering to the Department of Health and Public Health Agency guidelines. Social distancing, PPE use and isolation policies are in place across all of our homes to minimise the risk of transmission and we are closely monitoring the other residents and colleagues in Sandringham.
“Our focus at the moment is on the ongoing care and protection of all of our residents and colleagues.
“The support of the residents and their families towards all the staff team has meant so much; everyone connected to a Covid positive care home is affected by the sadness of loss, however, the positivity and resilience we see from all connected to our residents shows the value we hold our older people in.”
Minister Swann commented: “Covid-19 is a cruel virus that targets the most frail and vulnerable members of society. Care homes here and in many other countries have been seriously impacted.
“Our colleagues in the Republic and across the UK have had similar distressing experiences to Northern Ireland.
“I want to emphasise that extensive support has been and is continuing to be provided to the care home sector. The Department, Board, PHA, Trusts and RQIA are all playing their part. We are constantly seeking ways to enhance and intensify this support.
“We have a lot of work ongoing and will always be looking to do more. Care homes are an absolute priority.”
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