CARE workers feel they are being treated like 'lepers' due to ignorance about coronavirus says the director of a home in Welshpool.

Staff from The Hermitage care home in Welshpool have been shunned and criticised on a regular basis in recent weeks, according to the home's director Tanya Nesling who is urging the public to be more considerate.

She says one member of her staff was told she was "riddled with Covid" while in a supermarket, while family members of care workers in the town have also borne the brunt of disdain due to ignorance, people believing they are responsible for spreading the virus because of their work setting.

All residents have been vaccinated and all staff have ahd their first dose of the vaccine apart from a small number exempt for medical reasons.

Ms Nesling said: "We've been free from Covid for 11 months yet suddenly we have managed to get a lot of cases in a short space of time, but not all had typical Covid symptoms.

"It is absolutely shattering for the staff and on top of a very difficult job we are not getting the right treatment, including in supermarkets where one member of our staff was told she was riddled with the virus.

"We have had a lot of support from the family of relatives and their loved ones, and Powys County Council have been amazing, providing PPE and regular phone-calls.

"But many staff feel uncomfortable out in public, treated like they're lepers, through ignorance really. They are frightened to say where they work.

"Staff are tested every week, if they test positive they are sent home, if they have any symptoms, they don't come into work.

"I understand people are frightened of the virus but it's not nice to have staff crying in work because of how they have been treated outside."

She added: "I just want to raise awareness that staff are doing their very best.

"They don't come into this job for the money, they come into it for the love of the job. They work long hours, long weeks, it's a 24 hour a day operation, because they want to care for and help people.

"Yes there has been a rise in figures and we have lost two people but we have 29 residents here, very frail people who are living with coronavirus, they are poorly but getting through it.

"I think there is ignorance of how it (the virus) is transmitted and people need to realise they have a higher chance of catching it in the supermarket than they do coming into contact with one of our staff."

Ms Nesling said anyone who has any concerns is welcome to contact the care home and and have a chat for reassurance.

She said: "Last year we had the 'Clap for Carers', support for carers for the public but it feels like that has disappeared.

"It would just be nice for people to be more considerate, staff are doing the very best they can, it's exhausting and they should not be made to feel like they have been recently."