A new group of 10-20 expert nurses is being created to monitor Nursing Home patients who are Covid-19 positive, to help shield Nursing Homes for the elderly and avoid new infections, according to Health Minister Patricia Gómez.
Minister Gómez and Javier de Juan, the President of Mallorquí Institute of Social Affairs, or IMAS also explained that a training plan is being developed to help nurses provide better care.
Minister Gómez argued that Nursing Home residents are very vulnerable; that 89 residents died during the first wave of Covid-19 and another 14 fatalities have been confirmed in the second wave.
"We want to protect the Nursing Homes and the Centres for People with Disabilities," she said.
In order to do that, new coronavirus cases will be isolated in the fastest and most preventive way and new action protocols will be developed.
"We will offer help to all residences that request it,” Minister Gómez said.
In February, a working group was created to coordinate with Insular Councils and the Ministry of Social Affairs to assess residents who are coronavirus positive and those suspected of having the disease and hospitalise them if necessary.
The President of the Institut Mallorquí d'Afers Socials has called for mass screenings at private and public Nursing Homes to clarify the coronavirus situation. 3,500 residents and 3,000 workers will be monitored.
In the coming weeks a brand new residence will open in Carrer del General Riera in Palma, with 150 places specifically for residents of Nursing Homes who are asymptomatic positive.
A hotel in Playa de Palma will also be enabled for people who are unable to quarantine correctly at home.
De Juan said many more asymptomatic cases are being detected in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and that the intention is to have about 300 places available specifically for asymptomatic patients.
Joint training will be initiated between the Health Department and Social Services to reinforce preventive protocols at Nursing Homes.
Friends and relatives are allowed to visit residents under "very controlled” circumstances and De Juan says there are no plans to ban them because there is no evidence of visitor contagion.
Minister Gómez explained that the colour classification in Nursing Homes lets everyone know the situation of the patient very quickly. She stressed that it is not related to the allocation of resources and insisted that “it is up to the clinician" to decide if it’s necessary to admit people to hospital.
Minister Gómez also argued that the number of deaths in Nursing Homes is due to the fact that they are the most vulnerable people and the most severely affected by coronavirus.
She also pointed out that new measures were taken prior to the fatalities in the second wave and that the virus is especially aggressive in the elderly.
The Governing Council has authorised the Department of Health to take the necessary measures to curb coronavirus infection in the Islands, with lockdowns in areas or Municipalities where the rate of infection is high.
Minister Gómez says the Covid-19 situation is being studied every day and that the possibility of further restrictions cannot be ruled out.