In some countries, it has emerged that transmission of COVID-19 and subsequent death rates are high in care homes. For example, in the UK, figures indicate that about a third of deaths have taken place in a care home, whose population overall is much smaller than the general population.
This is likely because of the vulnerable nature of people who are in care homes due to their age and existing health problems. However, it has also transpired that high death rates may be due to poor communication to care homes about the disease, the lack of testing for COVID-19 for people who were admitted to care homes and a lack of PPE for staff who may have inadvertently introduced COVID-19 to care homes where it has the potential to spread very quickly.
Evaluating the risks
Much research consistently finds that with COVID-19, people who have no known underlying health conditions account for only approximately 5% of deaths.
However, currently, this means that in the UK, approximately 41,500+ (as on the 6/9/20) people have died seemingly from COVID-19 and no other condition. Added to this is the fact that so many people have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19, which means that evaluating the risks to people whilst they are at work or elsewhere is crucial to protecting them.
Duty of care
Employers well as some landlords are recommended to take seriously their duty of care, which states that they are responsible for the wellbeing of their employees and in some cases landlords too.
Certain HMO and serviced office landlords may have a duty of care to the tenants and should carry out a risk assessment too.
At an uncertain time, carrying out risk assessments will not be easy, but employers should be led by official advice and should not try to undertake activities that would place people at unnecessary risk.
The websites below give links to templates for risk assessments that may be useful as employers try to find ways of returning to getting their businesses back up and running whilst keeping their employees safe from harm: