A DECISION to ban people visiting their loves ones in St Helens’ care homes due to the rising rate in coronavirus infections will be kept under “constant review”.

St Helens’ outbreak management board announced a number of additional measures last Wednesday to try and curb the rate of community transmission.

One of these included the decision to temporarily suspend care home visits.

The infection rate across the borough has continued to rise in recent weeks, with public health data released by St Helens Borough Council today showing a seven-day infection rate of 114.4 per 100,000 people, from 206 cases.

This is from 201 confirmed cases of between September 15 and 21, with Earlestown seeing the highest number of cases (24), followed by Thatto Heath (23).

In St Helens’ care homes, six people tested positive for Covid-19 in the seven days leading up to September 18, according to council data.

During that week, six residents died in the borough’s care homes, although none were suspected of being linked to Covid-19.

Separate data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the deaths of 83 people in St Helens have been linked to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.

And today, NHS data revealed that a patient being treated for coronavirus at Whiston Hospital died on Friday, the first since August 3.

At present, the majority of people testing positive for the virus in St Helens are aged between 18 to 59.

However, 16 people aged between 60 and 79 tested positive for Covid-19 between September 13 and 19, while three people aged 80+ also tested positive.

The worry is that as the virus continues to spread in the community, it will infect greater numbers of the older population, leading to more hospital admissions and deaths.

It is for these reasons why the outbreak management board, which is chaired by St Helens Borough Council leader David Baines, decided to temporarily restrict visiting in the borough’s care homes.

Cllr Marlene Quinn, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, has now appealed to the public to do their part to help bring the infection rate down.

She said: “We’ve seen a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases in St Helens borough in recent days and weeks, and we must all pull together now to reduce the spread.

“It’s because of this that our outbreak management board has taken the decision to temporarily suspend visits to care homes.

“Each and every one of us has a duty is to protect our family and our community, including our older relatives, our parents and grandparents who are often much more vulnerable.

“Though we know this temporary suspension will be difficult, that hardship pales next to the turmoil of losing a loved one to this deadly virus as too many sadly have.

“This decision will be kept under constant review by the board as we don’t underestimate the negative impact it could have on the mental wellbeing of both residents and their families.

“Please continue to follow the current restrictions.”

For more information about these measures, click here.