Paul Stanton, a former national Director of NHS Board development, said: “In any care home there is a significant risk that staff who have become infected in the course of their ordinary lives may, before their symptoms develop, unintentionally bring COVID-19 into their place of work and thus spread the virus to colleagues and to residents – unless they are suitably protected against airborne transmission of infected particles.
“Where residents, as was the case at Plasgarnedd, are isolated within single rooms, unprotected staff could all too easily have spread the virus from one infected resident to others – and indeed to their colleagues. However, it seems that in this case the face coverings helped to prevent any onward transmission.
“It will be important to establish, through properly conducted clinical trials, how important a contribution the protective face coverings can make in other private sector residential care settings”.
Initial discussions are now underway between Virustatic and Care England, the umbrella representative body for private sector residential care home providers, to initiate these trials.
Mr Stanton added: “It will also be vital to the wider UK economy to establish, through properly conducted and evaluated trials, the contribution that these protective face coverings can make in other non-care workplaces.
“Potentially, the ability of this new form of face covering to prevent the spread of airborne particulate infections in workforce intensive employment settings could be game changing.”