Jewish Care says it has received only 'a few tests'

Leading care provider says it is campaigning for more Covid-19 tests


Jewish Care has revealed that it has received just “a few tests” from the government, despite promises to check all care home staff and residents who are showing symptoms of Covid-19. 
Speaking during a special Zoom session with members of the South Hampstead Synagogue, Jewish Care’s chief executive, Daniel Carmel-Brown, said: “Though there have been announcements that tests will be widely available across care homes, to date, only a few tests have been made available to us, despite our on-going requests and pressure to the authorities to receive them. 
“It is something that we are very concerned about and we will continue to pursue this. We are working with the umbrella bodies in social care to campaign for more tests. Our aim is to be able to test all residents and staff."
Jewish Care has 1,300 staff, runs more than 70 centres and services and normally supports some 10,000 people every week, although many of its services have now been suspended. 
The latest available figures (from April 20) show that 23 Jewish Care residents have died after testing positive for Covid-19. 
"We are actively campaigning for more tests so that we are in a better position to identify who has Covid-19, allowing us to better assess and meet the needs of those in our care. While we have seen testing rolled out across a handful of our homes, it has been inconsistent in others. We eagerly await any guidance on how more tests will reach us.” Mr Carmel-Brown told the JC

The virtual meeting’s host, Rabbi Eli Levin, invited members of the community to ask questions on topics such as how Jewish Care is supporting residents, relatives and staff, the mental health effects of the virus and how the organisation plans to organise visits to care homes during lockdown. 
“We don’t have all the answers yet,” admitted Mr Carmel-Brown. “We work with the most vulnerable people and will be very cautious about how we approach the next phase but we are looking at how this will all be done.”
Other topics included how Jewish Care is continuing to celebrate festivals and shabbat when volunteers are not able to go into retirement homes. 
“Like the rest of the community we are doing things differently. Our volunteering has shifted to virtual experiences so when it comes to prayer, we are linking with shuls who are sharing their Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdallah services,” said Mr Carmel-Brown. “We are celebrating festivals with care home residents so that prayer can continue. It has always been central to us and will continue to be.”

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