A local authority in Wales has said social care services are “straining” under the “significant pressure” of COVID-19.
Carmarthenshire County Council said both council-run and private care providers in the area are battling the impact of the virus on vulnerable people requiring care with a reduced workforce shortage, as large numbers of carers are forced to self-isolate.
In a statement published on Tuesday (January 5), the council said domiciliary care is affected by the staff shortages, so much so that the authority is only able to deliver essential care.
There are also 34 care homes in Carmarthenshire with COVID-19 cases, or unable to take placements as they recover from the outbreak.
Ten care homes are so severely affected by Covid-19 that the council has had to step in to provide support and extra staffing – in one case taking over the management of a home temporarily as staff and management were unable to work.
Jake Morgan, the council’s Director of Communities, said: “Over the last few weeks social care has been under significant pressure to maintain critical services,” he said.
“The overwhelming challenge for many homes is to maintain safe staffing levels and we are providing services and staff directly to support a number of homes in the county.
“There are a range of contingencies that we have put in place to mitigate the risk over the coming weeks and I am pleased that through the efforts of our dedicated care and health staff that the vast majority of clients who contract Covid-19 are able to make a full recovery.
“Staff across social care are going above and beyond what could be expected of them to support and protect vulnerable people, and I want to thank them personally for their continued commitment.”
Cllr Jane Tremlett, Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care, said the risks would remain high until the vaccine roll-out is completed for vulnerable users and care staff, and urged people to play a part in the efforts to protect the most vulnerable.
“Risks have been high across the sector over Christmas and will remain so until the vaccine roll-out is completed,” she added.
“We are close to the vaccine having a real protective effect in our communities and I would ask everyone in the county to do their bit to prevent the spread of the virus and give us the best chance to protect our most vulnerable.”