Coronavirus sowed fear for Sheffield caregiver who was not tested

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Legend
Alison Taylor has tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, although she has never experienced symptoms


A caregiver who could not be tested for the coronavirus until July said she feared she had spread the disease in nursing homes despite the absence of symptoms.

Alison Taylor, from Sheffield, recently tested positive for antibodies indicating she once had coronavirus.

She now fears that she worked when she was contagious and has even visited her mother, who later died with an alleged Covid-19.

The Department of Health and Welfare said protecting staff and residents at home was a top priority.

Miss Taylor, 51, said: “I find it very hard to think that I could have passed it on to nursing homes, residents, my family.

“I could be responsible for the deaths of other people without knowing it. “

‘Really uncomfortable’

As a health care assistant, she cared for vulnerable people throughout the pandemic.

Miss Taylor, who is employed by an agency, worked in four different homes before regular testing was introduced for caregivers and residents without symptoms.

She said she was first tested for the coronavirus about a month ago and has since had two tests in the past two weeks.

Last week Miss Taylor underwent an antibody test which returned a positive result, which NHS England said meant she had had the virus.

She said if she had had any idea that she had been infected, she would have stayed home rather than going to work.

Miss Taylor said: “I continued to work without any symptoms so I don’t know if I transmitted it or not.

“I am really uncomfortable that I was able to go to nursing homes, to work with so many residents and staff without knowing that I have Covid.”

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PA Media

Legend

The government has announced that plans to test all residents and nursing home staff have been delayed


During the period when she could have isolated herself, Miss Taylor went to the supermarket and visited her vulnerable parents.

She said she saw her 82-year-old mother with Alzheimer’s disease just before Mother’s Day in March.

Miss Taylor said her mother was “really good” at the time but died less than a month later on April 16.

She was never tested, so there was no way of knowing if she had coronavirus.

Miss Taylor said she was told the coronavirus started at the home after a resident was treated in hospital for a fall.

She added, “Now I know I got it and saw my mom, maybe I have some kind of guilt, because I just don’t know.

“I’m afraid I passed it on to my mom maybe, to people I care for in my workplace, with no idea that I was positive.

At the start of the pandemic, health workers reported difficulty getting tested for the coronavirus.

Routine testing for nursing home workers and residents was announced on July 3.

However, the government has admitted that regular testing will only reach all homes for those over 65 and people with dementia before September 7.

Miss Taylor said: “We need to know that staff are safe and residents are as safe as they can be.

“If we’re not tested and we don’t know who has it, who has it, it’s just going to continue, it will continue. ”

Last week, the Department of Health and Welfare said that a “combination of problems” had limited the number of test kits available to nursing homes and that, as a result, it had been unable to “do as many asymptomatic tests as we wish ”.

A spokesperson has now added, “Protecting residents and nursing home staff has been a top priority throughout this unprecedented pandemic.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure the tests are available to everyone who needs it. We deliver at least 50,000 tests every day to nursing homes across the country, while working around the clock to minimize any disruption to routine testing.

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