Sheltered housing resident says she is 'left in the dark' about COVID-19
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A woman who lives at a sheltered housing complex in St Albans has spoken of her growing fears about coronavirus during the current lockdown.
The Park Side View resident, who does not want to be named, contacted the Herts Ad after her concerns surrounding coronavirus within the facility began to significantly rise.
The woman, who has lived at Park Side View for the last 18 months, said she felt "left in the dark", and said the worry about coronavirus was "daunting" and getting "worse and worse".
Since the start of the pandemic, two residents have sadly died as a result of COVID-19, with residents and staff also coming down with the virus.
Although shared facilities such as common rooms and staff rooms have been shut as per government advice, the resident voiced her unease about shared equipment, such as wheelchairs, laundry rooms and lift shafts, as well as carers that would be tending to multiple people.
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With residents living in their own independent flats, she explained that advise was sometimes unclear as to whether individuals had to isolate or not, but was relieved that regular testing was now available for those that live at Park Side View.
On Tuesday, Settle, the housing association that owns Park Side View, sent a letter to residents to confirm there were active coronavirus cases on site, and reassured residents that Settle's priority "remains the safety and wellbeing of residents and all those in the flexicare community".
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Anita Khan, executive director of customer services at Settle said: “We are deeply saddened that two residents have passed away of COVID-19 at Park Side View, and our thoughts are with their families and loved ones.
“As a housing association, Settle is the landlord responsible for the homes at Park Side View. We are working closely with Herts at Home Limited, who are the care provider at Park Side View on behalf of Herts County Council, and Public Health England to help keep everyone in this community as safe as possible.
“Throughout our response to COVID-19, Settle and Herts at Home have done everything possible in line with all government guidance to protect the safety of residents at Park Side View, and we continue to do that now.
"Steps we have taken include the ongoing closure of communal areas, increased cleaning and regular testing provided by Herts at Home for all staff working in Park Side View, which is now also being offered to residents and their visitors.
"Any facilities like lifts and laundry rooms are provided in line with government guidance and we will continue to provide all the advice we can to residents to help keep them safe.
“We know that this is a very difficult time for everyone at Park Side View. Our priority remains the safety and wellbeing of residents and all those in the flexicare community at Park Side View.
"Colleagues at Settle and Herts at Home remain available and will continue doing everything possible to support residents, their families and loved ones at this time.”
When a care facility notifies the county council of a coronavirus case, the council work with local health colleagues to implement contact tracing, control the infection, reduce transmissions and ensure they keep staff and residents safe.
A spokesperson from Herts county council said: "Safe staffing remains a key infection prevention strategy – limiting movement of staff across care settings and ensuring increased capacity for enhanced infection control practice and testing regimes and providing a quick response to staffing issues caused by staff self-isolating," and also continued that an additional £22 million in funding has been set aside to support social care to respond to coronavirus, including providing COVID-19 secure visiting methods for friends and family.