AGENCY staff at a care home with a coronavirus outbreak have been working at other homes across the city, it has been revealed.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, yesterday confronted Boris Johnson about the issue at the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament.

The Labour representative said: “I would like to draw attention to the fact that the Oaklands Care Home in my constituency has had a really difficult time lately.

“A 94-year-old resident developed the symptoms of coronavirus and requested a test. Ten days later when the test finally happened, 14 of the 20 residents were exhibiting symptoms.

“Seven of the staff were off sick so that they could self-isolate, they were agency staff who had also been working in other care homes. None of the protective equipment had arrived.

“Can the Prime Minister tell the House and the 80,000 care homes around Britain, what date they will expect tests to be carried out on the day that symptoms emerge and every single person working in those care homes will get the protective equipment they need?

Mr Johnson responded: “On the tests, the answer is we want to roll that out as soon as we possibly can and the personal protective equipment, the answer is by the end of this week.”

Gisella Casciello-Rogers, daughter of 94-year-old Giuseppe Casciello mentioned by Mr Kyle, spoke to The Argus yesterday afternoon.

She said: “My father is still very poorly but he is hanging on. This must not and should not become a political debate.

“This is about getting the testing done and the hospital-type of PPE that all care homes and people on the front line need.

“All we can do as a nation is pray and hope that we will come through this and give the NHS all the support it needs right now.

“Something Government should have thought about a very long time ago.”

Yesterday, The Argus learnt that of three tests conducted on Oaklands’ residents, one was positive and one was negative. The third result is not yet known.

It is not yet known whether Mr Casciello has tested positive.

According to Professor Martin Lewelyn from the Royal Sussex County Hospital, who was speaking in a video message to frontline workers, the current respiratory Covid-19 testing is about 75 per cent accurate.

The suspected outbreak at Oaklands, which is in Dyke Road Avenue, Hove, is understood to have started 14 days ago.

One by one, and despite the best efforts by managers who were instructing people to self-isolate, residents and staff developed symptoms, including a high fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

So far, about three quarters are believed to have come down with symptoms of the virus, which is increasingly fatal to those in older age bracket.

Other homes in the area have raised concerns about agency staff, who had been in Oaklands, working across the city.

David Steedman, owner of the Arlington House Care Home, which is also in Hove, found out about the outbreak on Monday after the story was broken by The Argus.

Mr Steedman says he does not use agency staff and there is no coronavirus in his home.

But he said: “We are alarmed. My concern is with all of the care homes in the area that may share agency staff.

“Homes might be sharing the same chef, a cleaner, a laundry assistant, care staff or agency staff. That needs to be brought to the attention of all care providers. We have to think about what can be learnt from this unfortunate event – what information should they be handing over to other care providers that will help us in preventing the spread of this virus.”

Meanwhile, families of the residents at Oaklands Nursing Home have praised the efforts of the staff and manager, Betti Korde.

John Kent, from Hove, say his mother is exhibiting symptoms such as a fever and persistent coughing.

The 49-year-old said: “All staff have been brilliant and we have been in contact with relatives over video call.

“It’s really easy to pigeonhole these residents as faceless old people and abstract numbers.

“They’re real people with families who have rights and deserve dignity.This risks getting lost in all the chaos.”

The daughter of a 92-year-old woman at the home, who asked to remain anonymous, echoed Mr Kent’s praise for the staff. She said: “I have every confidence in this home, they need hospital equipment just in case and they should get testing immediately so they can return to work if they do not have the virus.

“My mother is not sick, she’s very strong, she had a slightly raised temperature one day but no coughing.

“What Oaklands need, as do all nursing homes, is prompt testing and a quick turnaround.”

Dr Rachael Hornigold, acting consultant in health protection for Public Health England (PHE) South East, said: “Care homes report details of initial suspected cases to the local PHE health protection team, which are then passed to the NHS to arrange testing.

“Affected care homes are given advice about the symptoms of coronavirus and asked to monitor residents and look out for symptoms such as fever, a cough or difficulty breathing

“We also give them advice around infection control measures to help prevent further cases in the home.

“If staff become symptomatic the affected staff should self-isolate as per the national guidance.”