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Covid-19 Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Please continue to check the news page for the latest information. Also see our new weekly FAQs page which cover recent issues raised. 

Access FAQs relating to Domiciliary Care, Supported Living and Independent Living Financial Support here.



Staff Shortages Self-Isolation
Mutual Aid Staffing (Non-Specific)
Crisis Planning Vulnerable Adults
Day Services Accessing the Community
Direct Payments Social Distancing
Payments (General) Communication with Essex
Domiciliary Admissions
Hospital Discharge Children
NHS Financial Concerns (General)
Medication Food and Supplies
PPE Restricting access



Staff Shortages

If a provider is unable to meet contracted hours as a direct result of emergency Government Policy (i.e Self Isolation or school closure) can it still charge?

For domiciliary care, your invoice submission will need to include the actual contact time delivered and submit the missed or calls of a shorter duration as frustrated visits.  ECC will work with providers on how the cost incurred where care cannot be delivered can be underwritten. Guidance will follow.  


If there is concern of level of staffing being below safeguarding levels i.e. in a high level 1:1 will there be need for amendments to DoLS to accommodate this.  with local authority and CQC have understanding during extreme circumstances that not all community based needs are being met and that 1:1 support being shared?

ECC is working with CQC as the situation develops to ensure we can be as flexible as possible to keep people safe and well.  We have a good relationship with CQC have they have worked very pragmatically with us in the past on individual issues. Where such issues arise please contact as early as possible. We will also work with you on deprivation of liberty issues including securing legal advice where needed.  However following good practice under the current legislation and guidance on mental capacity, best interests decisions and deprivation of liberty will be the approach.  If there is emergency legislation that affects these areas we will  advise you and assist with interpretation.


Is there anyone we can advise our staff to speak to should they have to take time off work to look after poorly children who are at risk of contracting the virus

Clearly there are going to be issues related to staff needing to care for children, particularly with schools closed or to look after more vulnerable children.  The individual should seek health advice through 111 about their specific circumstances. 


Will there be flexibility in terms of staff compliance if (for example) we need to cancel planned refresher training sessions etc.

ECC Quality team will work with you to manage this.  Please get in touch with  if you have any issues as early as possible.


If government pays for 2 weeks of staff absence, who funds the rest? What do we do in instances of repeated 'self-isolation'?

We think the financial flexibilities we have provided allow you to pay staff who are off sick. This would also cover repeated absences. Returning to work following a period of initial sickness would be a new instance of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).


If/when ECC support with resident (in residential) whose needs cannot be met due to absence, or crisis of resident, will this include non-ECC funded residents?

Currently this is not part of our package but we will review moving forward.


What support is there if we lose staff members due to they themselves being identified of being at high risk?

We've asked providers to look at mutual aid across the system. We're also looking at ways of bringing people into the system.


Mutual Aid

Do you have a contingency plan from other providers that can be shared?

Update 23.03.20: ECC operations team and placement team are working on a process to support 'mutual aid' between providers and across areas - which has been shared and can be found here.


We can't afford to share staff if our contract values are decreased. Are they paid by host?

We think that the 25% flexibility either way enables these arrangements to be put in place. If there are problems with this then let us know.


If staff work from another company what rate would they be paid. Would it be the rate of where they work or where they came from.

We would suggest that this would be agreed between you and the company they have come from. 


Is there a list of providers which we can call on should we need some help as this fully depends on our staffing to meet care packages.

Please see the guidance on mutual aid found here. The CQC list of social care organisations with contact numbers for local providers can be found here:

Download the 'CQC Care Directory - with filters' file.

In column Q select 'Essex' and the local areas are in column X 


Are there any additional legal issues with taking on staff members from other companies without DBS and reference checks?

We are actively speaking with the DBS service around getting further guidance on this issue. Further information will be shared on the hub when we get it.


Is there going to be a Whatsapp group/web hub set up for shared care? Obviously we all need to work together and support each other over these coming times

This is a good suggestion and we will look into how we might be able to support this. An update will be provided via the hub.


Where there is need for people to work in care homes from other companies i.e. day centre, if there is pay difference would this need to be paid if so by who?       

We would expect you to make arrangements between the two organisations based on the financial flexibilities we have given.


Is there any guidance if entire staff fall ill or have to isolate          

If this happens we would ask you to follow mutual aid processes initially and use your business continuity plan to cover this eventuality.


When is Essex going to share their contingency plan should there be large volumes of staff off? We need to be able to make plans before admin staff are off etc      

We have shared proposals around mutual aid and financial flexibilities. We are asking you to work with other providers within your area and with local social care teams.


Crisis Planning


How are providers going to be supported when there is going to be an increase in waiting times for paramedics?

Should you need to wait with an adult for an ambulance for an increased amount of time ie in excess of the permitted 2 hour limit, please complete the SVO process under the One off Additional Emergency Support section including the details of the specific circumstances. Please send the form to for processing to ensure payment. SPT will process these as usual - subject to a budget holder exceptions agreement.


If residents go into crisis (which is probable with an LD individual who cannot access services) will there be support for this?

Normal processes will apply - please make sure you refer to the social work teams through adult social care connect.


What happens if my care team go down?

Please speak to other providers in your area using guidance on the hub regarding mutual aid. Business continuity plans should be followed.


If we cannot cope with some residents what can we do?  Can they be transferred?

Please speak to SPT in the first instance and they will direct you further.


What additional Crisis Action Plans are in place for service users in supported housing

We should be using the normal escalation routes considered on a person-by-person basis.


What happens if a MH tenant in Supported accommodation becomes psychotic or has a rapid deterioration in their mental health

Use the normal routes to refer to MH teams. Normal procedures apply.


Day Services


Are virtual classes/activities and telephone welfare checks an acceptable form of alternative day opps?

In principle yes, please consider any risks that may be present and contact the Council if you have any doubt regarding the viability of your proposed support or have concerns about a named individual (excluding any urgent medical issues which should be referred to the NHS), please contact the Service Placement Team via:


Please clarify what you mean by 'outreach' as an alternative service in your letter re day opps.  We don't have sufficient staff for visits.

Please be advised that outreach provision would include but not limited to the provision of outreach support. In relation to outreach support, this could be conducted in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, conducting welfare calls, using video calls or social media to engage with clients, delivering shopping to people in remote rural areas. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and providers are expected to make reasonable endeavours to ensure the continuation of support to vulnerable people during this period of exceptional circumstances. However, if you have any doubt regarding the viability of your proposed support or have concerns about a named individual (excluding any urgent medical issues which should be referred to the NHS), please contact the Service Placement Team via:  


What arrangements will be put in place for Day Services that have now lost all income including Direct Payments?

Please note that there is a separate direct payments workstream which are considering the implications for this cohort of service users who can be contacted via:   This e-mail box is regularly monitored by a team which specialises in direct payments enquiries and is currently compiling a list of FAQs which will include specific guidance for day opportunities placements which are funded via direct payments.


Will there be an online activity session being put into place, and if so how do we access these?

There are a wide range of online activities that people are posting, please browse the resources available depending on the needs of the individual.


What financial support will be available to day services that have lost Service User's direct payments due to service closure?              



Will short breaks services still receive payment?             

If this is in relation to day services, in relation to invoicing, at this stage the Council is not treating this issue as a conventional suspension of service and the POs are being retained on Mosaic to facilitate payments. Therefore, please continue to raise invoices as normal until instructed otherwise.


Direct Payments

Please see comprehensive provider FAQs for Direct Payments here. You can also access the guidance provided for people who use Direct Payments  and their responsibilities as an 'employer' of care staff.


Payments (General)

Will funds be made available by ECC to pay for additional and appropriate action taken by providers to keep SU's and staff safe and free from Coronavirus.

Please see our financial support page to see the funds available for providers in response to Covid-19


Do we have to pay SSP for longer than 14 days if the carer is in isolation longer

The guidance on SSP can be found here -



Is there any guidance for domiciliary care services as online advice is mainly care homes?

The current guidance for social care covers both care homes and home care:

We will work with you on any points of clarification or concern - please email  with any questions so we can collate responses.


If one domiciliary carer tests positive, how do we react?

Please see this useful diagram


What guidelines do you offer if a client is diagnosed with the virus and providing care in domiciliary setting?

Please see the latest PPE guidance on the government website:


Dom care question.  What do we do if a SU is asked to self-isolate?  Who will care for them - we cannot insist our staff place themselves at risk.

To put this is context it is expected that most people in the UK will be infected with covid-19 and so occupational risks are only a fraction of the risks care staff face.  That said it is important to protect care staff and the essential services they perform as much as practicable. 

When a client gets covid-19 they must self-isolate if they are well enough not to need to be hospitalised.  The workers must use the correct PPE, and practice good hand hygiene. Please see the latest PPE guidance on the government website:


We are a Domiciliary spot provider, can we also charge the full duration of visits if 75% is completed as per the webinar?

The letter released 18 March applies fully to SPOT and LAH providers also.


Can a provider of Dom care take on a new staff with a DBS from previous care employment and SOVA 1st check completed but no new DBS?

New staff with a SOVA 1st check would still need to work under supervision until new DBS comes through. We have not seen any relaxation of DBS processes yet.


Hospital Discharge

Should we be providing care to service users currently in hospital?

Update 23.03.20: The greatest risk of passing on infection comes when symptoms starts.  If a service user does not have symptoms (high temperature or new continuous cough) they are at low risk of passing on infection.  If they do have symptoms then there should be an assessment of risk before they are discharged.


Are providers currently allowed to refuse individuals back to the home having been release from hospital?

People leaving hospital should have been assessed as appropriate for discharge.  This will be more challenging as hospitals are asked to free up beds rapidly based on the letter from the Chief Executive of NHS England . We have sought PHE advice on taking people who are symptomatic or diagnosed with Covid-19 


Patient not symptomatic of COVID 19 and hospital discharged to Care Home who isolates new Residents for safety. Patient wanders and has dementia. What to do?

Please manage this as effectively as possible and we recognise this is a challenging situation. You may want to seek advice from the OP/MH team for potential distraction techniques.


Is there a possibility of enforced placement into homes?             

No. We would expect providers to work with partners on the risk of discharge into the home.


We have 3 residents with high temperature and 2 in hospital. Could you please ensure that anyone in hosp from care home are tested before sent back to us

Testing for COVID-19 positive patients does not tell you that somebody is incubating if they don't have symptoms. This would be ineffective. They may develop a temperature within two weeks of leaving hospital. If somebody comes out of hospital without any symptoms they should be treated as normal. If they develop symptoms then they should self-isolate as per the care home guidance. 



Will there be community support from NHS in the case of high level intensive support for individuals who have mild to severe learning disability who, if they need to be quarantined and this leading to escalation of behaviour, are going into crisis due to this? 

We will need to deal with any issues like this on a case by case basis and based on capacity available.  ECC is working closely with the NHS to try and resolve issues.  Contact as early as possible if you need assistance.


Do the CCG have a local resilience forum?

Emergency planning/local resilience is organised on an Essex wide basis


Do the CCG have a Disaster Management Plan?

The CCGs have business continuity plans and are part of the Essex wide resilience forum



Shortage of pharmacies staff due to infection. What assistance can we expect to receive to ensure SU's receive their Medication in a prompt and orderly fashion.

Update: 24.03.20: Please see update regarding pharmacies: Pharmacy opening times update and medication support from community pharmacies


What about service users that are immune-suppressed?

Contact with this individual should be minimised and we should support them to self-isolate as much as possible based on guidance.


If Residents who are at extreme risk of escalation and crisis who are not prescribed PRN to help manage will GP's be able to support this at a distance

Please consult GP/appropriate specialist team.


Individuals due to extreme limited community activity and access who are escalating to crisis. Will there be a need for an emergency PRN protocol for them

Please consult GP/appropriate specialist team.


Our pharmacist will not supply in blister pack now as they are short with staff. This means more time with medication. Any suggestions would be helpful

We are not aware that administering from original packaging is any more time-consuming than dispensing from blister packs. Speak to your pharmacist if there are any particular individual problems. Please speak to the CCG medicine team if this is causing serious problems.



How long should you use PPE when caring for those exhibiting symptoms?

Please see the latest PPE guidance on the government website:


What support will we receive from ECC to help with the shortage of masks and other PPE that will be necessary?

ECC can provide emergency supply of PPE where you have been unable to source through your usual supply routes. You can find a list of potential suppliers of PPE here. Additionally some small providers will be eligible for PPE from the government PPE portal. More information here. 

The guidance to receive PPE from ECC is here Please complete the relevant request form for your organisation:


Eye PPE - we cannot source disposable eye protection. Can we use goggles and instruct de-con/sanitisation after use. Keep them at SU address so one per house.

In general, providers shouldn't need eye protection in line with guidance. Please follow the social care PPE guidance and this would only be required when undertaking aerosol generating procedures. This would be an acceptable interim solution if aerosol generating procedures are being carried out.


Responding to Infection

What do we do if a client in a shared house or other accommodation is suspected/confirmed as having Covid19?

Update 23.03.20: A person with symptoms of covid-19 in shared accommodation must self-isolate as much is possible for 14 days.  Guidance on what self-isolation means can be found on the official website:  This will be difficult to do in shared accommodation but scrupulous hand hygiene everyone in the accommodation and avoiding coughing on others will help. 


If a resident in the home comes down with fever or cough does this mean the whole residential home would need to isolate as per a normal household?

The care home would count as a household.  If there are different separate units and the home is able to segregate them then they have more flexibility; they would have to use typical barrier/cohorting procedures eg separate out residents, separate out staff as it won't work as well if staff still move between units, using personal protective equipment, good personal and environmental hygiene etc.  Or if they can separate floors on the unit and can apply same cohorting.  Of course, the definition of an outbreak for care homes is the two or more cases but we believe coronavirus guidance supersedes this with isolation if one suspected case.    They should apply the usual principles of outbreak management.   You should seek health protection team advice on new admissions.


What will be happening in regard to respite stays. Is it recommended to stop this in homes with full time residents?

Currently we would recommend that you would continue as normal and notify us if any problems arise.


Communication with Clients

Do we need to issue guidance for what staff should be telling clients about Covid-19 and what questions they should be exploring? 

Please see this guidance.

When a client gets covid-19 they must self-isolate if they are well enough not to need to be hospitalised.  There is updated guidance on the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for carers giving personal care to client with covid-19  


Are we considering writing to service users/their families with advice

We are currently not considering this but it will be kept under review. There is clear guidance on the governmnet website We have written to all people in receipt of a direct payment.


In the case of residents going hospital who need 1:1 support. Where hospital does not allow others in, what can be done to ensure support for resident beyond hospital passports?

If you let the hospital know this then they would potentially be able to arrange someone to support. The most appropriate person with the knowledge of the individual's needs would need to discuss the risk with the hospital. This would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the needs of the individual.




Do you have any thoughts on how we might best be able to support homeless people living in shared accommodation re self-isolation?

This is a challenging setting.  There is guidance on self-isolation on the government websites:  It practices this will be difficult to instigate in shared accommodation.  Scrupulous hand hygiene and avoiding coughing on others will help. 


What is the situation regarding potential increased DOLS issues if we need to isolate individuals without capacity, or limit daily activities in the community?

The risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures. Care workers should use personal protective equipment for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.  Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations.  In particular cases, if there is a risk of splashing then eye protection will minimise risk.


What can providers do in instances where adults are not self-isolating/social distancing and family visit and then care staff are being put at risk by visiting?

Please refer to the government guidance - 


What do we do if someone has the virus and they are 'walk with purpose' (referred to as 'wandering').               

Please see advice here - this gives some suggestions for walking with purpose. Consider how this would be managed with a respiratory infection outside of current circumstances. Usual procedures should be used to manage outbreaks.Please clean the touchpoints regularly throughout the day. 


If a client decides to self isolate who do you notify that you are not going in to provide care

Please notify SPT in the normal way as you would for any other frustrated call.


Staffing (Non-Specific)


Is the council going to support any staff who have to attend work on public transport/considering moving out of the family home to avoid the need to self-isolate

This is not something that we would routinely consider - if there are particular issues with providers that cannot be accommodated within the financial flexibility we have given, let us know and we can consider circumstances on an individual basis.


What can we do if there are staff who can work, but wish not to work due to their concern of catching COVID19.

This should be dealt with under your usual HR internal policies/procedures.


Vulnerable Adults

In regards to resident who are NOT under DoLS and wish to access community what is the advice for this?

Please refer to current social distancing guidelines


Accessing the Community

Should we be limiting community activities? Families are asking us to cease activities in the community.

Please refer to current social distancing guidelines


Some providers not allowing residents out - is this deprivation of liberty or is this advice now?

Please refer to current social distancing guidelines. Providers should be talking to the DOLS team before taking action to get appropriate advice.  


Social Distancing


How can adults with 2:1 still access community without breaching social distancing?

Please explain this if challenged based on circumstances. In broad terms social distancing guidelines should be followed wherever possible.


This would be an ideal time for Essex cc to offer some kind of online care worker basic training, now we are social distancing will this happen please?

We're working on a proposal for this. Training 2 Care are now offering webinar training courses for care staff or call 01376 573999.


What should we do if a family member/s arrive at the home and demand to enter the building to see their loved ones.    

Risk assess the situation with humanity and compassion in line with social distancing guidance.


Communication with Essex

Where you have providers with multiple locations and services, it would be good to only have dedicated people having the links 

We will aim to have one set of guidance/conversation with you and a single point of contact within ECC. Intially this is via 



 Do ECC currently have any guidelines for providers in relation to new admissions and whether or not they should be taking on new adults?

Care homes should remain open to new admissions as much as possible throughout the pandemic.   Public Health England will be updating its advice on whether and when care homes should remain open on a regular basis.  If you have any specific concerns discuss with the local health protection team.

Care homes should be prepared for the possibility that at times during the pandemic this might involve receiving residents back from hospital who are COVID positive in order to isolate them in the care home. They should do what they can to support this, in order to ensure that the whole health and social care system has capacity to care for the sickest people, following official guidance. Patients can be discharged before resolution of symptoms provided they are deemed clinically fit for discharge and should be advised to self-isolate as per staying at home guidance.

Care homes should follow the advice from Public Health England when accepting residents without COVID back when there are confirmed COVID cases within a home. Care homes should have in place standard operating procedures for individual residents with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 infection, including appropriate infection control precautions to protect staff and residents.


Care homes saying they will refuse further admissions if they have resident(s) already in their care who are infected with Covid19.

If there is an outbreak and the care home has been asked to close by the HPT then the acute trust and care home manager can liaise with the duty CRC consultant to risk assess individual admissions. 



Are there currently any differences in published guidance on the hub and the guidance that is being advised for children?

The current PHE advice is for social care which would also cover children but if you have specific question contact the Childrens inbox


Financial Concerns (General)

Will ECC support enhanced rate to staff who work? And fund the provider or at least contribute to hourly rate increase?

Please see our financial support page for more information on support available to you.


25% flex - We presume you are applying the same methodology around the total number of organisational commissioned hours that are via Direct Payments?        

Yes this is correct.


Govt is making available £1.6BN to LAs to help with CV-19. Has ECC considered how it will use this to support providers who may be incurring additional costs?           

The financial flexibilities we are giving are part of that.


Several care packages have fallen under 75% provision due to unable to access community. Does 75% apply on an individual package basis or across all provision?              

This would be applied across all provision.


We will require extra funding not just for supplies but staff.  When will we get uplift of fees for exising residents? Larger Care homes paying more & we stuggle   

Please see uplift announcements for 2020/21 - /working-with-us/rate-uplifts/


Who do we notify about service delivery falling under 75% and queries about invoicing in relation to this?         

Please email


Will Care homes be funded for additional 1:1 hours being provided due to closure of day centres?

We think this should be accommodated within the financial flexibilities we have laid out.


Costs have increased in the following ways: rise in overtime/agency costs, SSP from day 1 absence, increase in PPE and essential items. Will ECC support costs?      

We have given you a range of financial flexibilities which we think should cover the described. Please see our financial support page for more information on support available to you. You need to let us know if there's further problems.


Food and Supplies

Is there support for food provisions due to current state of supermarkets.

Brakes are prioritising our care homes and you can find contact details on the hub news page

T: 0344 800 4900
M: 07483 952385


What support is being given for supermarket shopping.    

In these instances please speak to the supermarket branch manager and raise your concerns as necessary. There has been success with this approach. Supplies are now back on the shelf more consistently due to new policies introduced by supermarkets. We have also issued a letter which can be printed off and taken as evidence alongside the ID badge to support discussions. 


Restricting Access


 Can homes restrict access for social workers intending to carry out safeguarding reviews

Adult Social Care is currently advising staff that only the highest priority visits should be undertaken to minimise contact with people at high risk from  Covid-19.  Safeguarding visits are the highest priority and we would not expect providers to refuse.  The only reason you would refuse such a visit would be if the person was symptomatic.  If you have any concerns you should speak to the Safeguarding team


Our interpretation of the guidance on lockdown/self-isolation is chiropodists are classified as health professionals and should be allowed in the home with PPE    

This depends on the need of the individual. If the resident cannot walk because of toenail problems then a visit would be necessary. A routine visit should stop and specific circumstantial need should apply.


Will social work teams being making unaccounted visits? I ask as there is concern with cross contamination and media attention that Social workers not having PPE       

Adult social care teams will not be making unannounced visits; contact will always be made in advance and visits will only be made for serious safeguarding enquiries.



We have received various advise re Furloughing Shielding Care Staff. Please could you give an update on the situation based on current understanding?

Please see update from 1 May - How the sector is expected to interpret guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


Last updated: 01 July 2020

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