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Change to isolation restrictions in care homes in Northern Ireland


Changes have been made to COVID-19 guidance for care home residents, reducing the isolation period for most cases and contacts from 14 days to 10 days.

The updated guidance came into effect on Friday 4 February.

Residents categorised as “severely immunocompromised” may still require a 14-day period of isolation.


The decisions have focussed on supporting, protecting and restoring wellbeing of residents in line with their care needs.

The recommendations are part of the recently updated national guidance, Infection prevention control (IPC) for seasonal respiratory infections in health and care settings (including SARS-CoV-2) for winter 2021 to 2022.

A range of key indicators were taken into account to inform the updated guidance and recommendations, including:


  • vaccination uptake among care home residents;

  • relaxation of COVID-19 guidance in the wider community as a result of the successful booster roll out;

  • data demonstrating sustained levels of protection against severe disease, seen in triple vaccinated persons against the now dominant Omicron variant;

  • the established and accessible support now in place for care home settings;

  • the need to safely balance risks of harm against risk to mental wellbeing with ongoing restrictions and isolation requirements.



The guidance will continue to be regularly reviewed.


There are still opportunities to get vaccinated and to receive the booster and the PHA would encourage care home staff and residents who have not received both their vaccines and the booster, to do so as soon as they can.

To view the latest COVID-19 isolation guidance for care homes residents visit:

www.pha.site/CareHomeGuidance

For information about where to receive a vaccination and booster visit:

www.nidirect.gov.uk/getboosted



The current evidence (published 07/01/2022), shows that a booster dose continues to provide high levels of protection against severe disease in older adults, three months after primary course of vaccination. A 90% protection against hospitalisation was seen in the triple vaccinated over 65s, compared to a 70% protection against severe disease, in the double vaccinated. These figures then dropped to 50% protection after six months in the double vaccinated over 65s.


• The recommendations from the Public Health Agency (PHA) to the Department of Health were accepted by the Health Minister Robin Swann and came into effect on Friday 4 February.