BACKGROUND: Residential care homes for the elderly are important settings for transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease. METHODS: We undertook secondary analysis of 248 care homes in Norfolk, UK. The dataset counted nurses, care workers and non-care workers, their status (available, absent due to leave or sickness and extra staff needed to address the coronavirus pandemic) and residents (if any) with suspected COVID-19 in the period 6 April to 6 May 2020. Concurrent descriptions of access by the home to personal protection equipment (PPE: gloves, masks, eye protection, aprons and sanitizer) were in the data. PPE access was categorized as (most to least) green, amber or red. We undertook two-stage modelling, first for suspected COVID-19 cases amongst residents and second relating any increases in case counts after introduction to staffing or PPE levels. RESULTS: Counts of non-care workers had strongest relationships (P < 0.05) to introduction of suspected SARS-CoV-2 to the homes. Higher staff levels and more severe PPE shortages were linked to higher case counts (P < 0.05) during the monitoring period. CONCLUSION: Managing aspects of staff interaction with residents and some working practices might reduce ingression to and spread of COVID-19-like illness within care homes.
- Older people
- Management and policy
- Infectious disease
- personal protection equipment
- mixed effect models
- care homes
- Cox proportional hazards model