Families across Worcestershire are being asked not to visit loved ones in care homes, to protect them from Covid-19.
Worcestershire County Council Public Health teams have taken the precautionary decision to close visits to all care homes with immediate effect.
Only essential or compassionate visits will be allowed.
Extra Care and Supported Living will be subject to the same restrictions.
In the past weeks, the county has seen increasing cases of Covid-19. This is reflective of the national picture.
There is a difficulty in accessing testing at the moment and this is leading to unreliable daily positive figures, but Public Health teams must work on the basis that positive cases are rising and the risk to residents is increasing.
This was the picture before the testing issues became apparent.
As part of the outbreak control plan, the county has a multitude of measures and support available to help prevent outbreaks and reduce the spread of the virus.
The decision to restrict Care Home, Extra Care and Supported Living visits is one of those options.
Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said: " We have been assessing the situation in Worcestershire very closely. The decision to stop care home, extra care and supported living visits is a difficult one to take. We have tried to balance the emotional health and wellbeing of our residents, with keeping them safe from Covid. By stopping visits county wide, we are acting to protect our vulnerable residents from the virus.
I appreciate this will be upsetting and frustrating for families and I want to reassure you that we have acted to save lives. We will continue to review this situation. For now this is a sensible precautionary measure, it is better to act sooner rather than later."
Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care said; "This will be difficult for many families and residents, but we must protect our elderly and vulnerable from the spread of Covid. The virus has not disappeared, it's still with us in our community and this is a reminder to us all that we all have our part to play to keep everyone safe. Please keep your distance, wash your hands and wear face coverings. It really is simple to do and you will be saving lives."