A TOTAL of eight care homes in Inverclyde were forced to close their doors to hospital admissions following Covid-19 outbreaks.

Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership says that when cases peaked in January action had to be taken.

The Tele had reported how Balclutha Court in Greenock's west end was one of the homes affected.

It was later praised by inspectors for its response.

During the height of the pandemic last spring there were 40 deaths recorded in local care homes up until August.

At the present time all but one care home in Inverclyde is clear of Covid-19.

The health and social care committee chairman has praised both care homes and the HSCP for measures taken to protect the most vulnerable.

Councillor Robert Moran said: "We know care homes were a huge issue at the start of the pandemic, mistakes were made and lessons learned.

"I am confident the right actions have been put in place.

"Inverclyde HSCP has worked very closely with our care homes."

The partnership says mass testing has taken place in the care home where there has been a recent positive case.

All care home residents across the district have now been vaccinated against Covid-19 with the administration of second doses well under way.

In December there were lateral flow test trials for visitors so they could see loved ones and visiting resumed this week.

Councillor Moran said he wanted to pay a special tribute to care home staff for their work during the pandemic.

He said: "I think the staff are magnificent, they went above and beyond throughout all of this.

"I would put their efforts on a par with our NHS.

"They are heroes."

As a result of the closures to new admissions, there have been delays for those waiting for care home places.

One establishment the area has taken the decision not to take admissions during the pandemic.

Inverclyde HSCP says it continues to have weekly meetings with care home managers to support their Covid response.