Care homes facemask guidelines dropped

time:2023-06-09 06:42:02source:NBC News author:Press center2

A recommendation to wear face coverings in Scotland's care homes is being dropped.

The practice has been removed from updated Scottish government guidelines which was published on Wednesday.

Scottish Social Care Minister Kevin Stewart said the move was the "latest step in our path to recovering from the pandemic".

He said it came in the wake of the "phenomenal success" of the coronavirus vaccination programme.

More than 12 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered across the country.

The scheme is credited with causing a drop in infections as well as reducing the severity of illness amongst those who do catch the virus.

This was demonstrated in the latest data from the ONS Covid infection survey which estimated there were about 96,000 people infected with Covid in Scotland on any given day in the week up to 23 August.

That constitutes about one in 55 people and its lowest level in eight months.

Scotland's autumn vaccination booster programme started on Monday, with plans to give the jab to more than two million people.

Care home residents and frontline health and social care workers will be among the first to receive the booster.

Under the new Scottish government guidelines social care staff and visitors are no longer being advised to wear face masks at all times.

However, masks and face coverings could still be recommended in certain circumstances, such as if there is a local outbreak of the virus.

Individuals can also continue to wear a mask if they choose to.

Care providers have been told to implement the new guidance from 14 September - or earlier if they are ready.

Speaking as the change was announced, Mr Stewart said: "Our phenomenally successful vaccination programme has driven down infections and saved the NHS from untold pressures.

"Removing the need for facemasks in social care settings including care homes is the latest step in our path to recovering from the pandemic.

"This will make communication and relationships easier in care settings, benefiting mental health and promoting the rights and choices of those working in and using social care."

The Scottish government said that the new guidance balanced the risk of harm from Covid-19 with the impact masks can have on communication, mental wellbeing and rights and choices of those working in and using social care services.

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