Major Covid-19 outbreak at Northampton children's home

13 staff and three children at Arnold House have tested positive for the virus

Wednesday, 10th June 2020, 2:01 pm
Unison have lodged a health and safety complaint.
Unison have lodged a health and safety complaint.

A Northampton children’s home has had a major Covid-19 outbreak with at least 16 people testing positive for the potentially deadly virus.

Both children and staff at Arnold House in Northampton, which is run by local authority Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), has tested positive for the contagion.

The small residential home specialises in care for young people with autism and looks after children from across the county. It is understood 13 staff and three children have tested positive since the middle of May for the virus.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In a statement released today (June 10) to the Local Democracy Reporting Service the council’s cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Fiona Baker said: “We can confirm that some staff and children at Arnold House have tested positive for Coronavirus.

“The welfare of children is our top priority and we have been working closely with Public Health England and the local Public Health team to ensure the situation is managed appropriately.

“All families have been informed of the situation and we are continuing to work closely with the unions to ensure that a safe service continues to be maintained for the children in Arnold House’s care.

“We have also ensured that there is adequate staffing in place and that remaining staff have been supplied with PPE.

“In line with guidance from Public Health England we are unable to release specific figures in relation to those in children’s homes who have been tested or confirmed positive. This is because sharing this information may risk identifying individuals.

“We are working closely with homes across the county to ensure they are fully supported during this difficult time.”

Arnold House is one of a handful of children’s homes run by the local authority itself. The authority, which has more than 1,000 children in its care, places most children in homes run by private providers and a significant number are sent to out of county placements.

It is understood a group of staff arranged their own testing at a centre in Milton Keynes and after a large number of them had tested positive, then tests were carried out by public health within the home. Currently there are five young people with autism living in the home.

Branch secretary of Northamptonshire Unison Kev Standishday said: “UNISON Northants County were alerted to the situation by a member late on Friday and I have been in communication with NCC over the weekend to ensure the safety of the children and staff there. Our regional office submitted a HSE referral on Saturday due to the seriousness of the situation and we have had urgent meetings with NCC to ensure everything is being put in place to manage the situation and ensure safety going forward.”

Northampton shadow cabinet member for children’s services Jane Birch has concerns about testing.

She said: “We must make sure that people are getting the adequate PPE and are being regularly tested. I have asked many times what is the testing situation in Northamptonshire and I am still unclear.”

Some tests are carried out in the county’s two hospitals, plus there are also temporary testing stations at places such as Corby’s urgent care centre and the university campus at Waterside in Northampton. Mobile testing units are also set up sporadically at sites and the county has an infection control team which carries out some tests. It is not clear how many people have been tested in Northamptonshire for the virus across all the facilities and methods or how many people in the county have Covid-19.

The outbreak comes after a number of Covid outbreaks at care homes across the county. So far at least 79 of the 250 homes in Northants have been affected.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper when you do your weekly shop.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you