Mr Holland has told a Stormont press briefing that care homes “are not islands or fortresses” and a rise in Covid cases in wider society will put homes at greater risk.
He says “we must protect life, but we must also protect the quality of life”.
“Many care home residents are living through the last chapter of their lives, to condemn them to do so in total isolation from those that they love and who love them cannot be a situation that we accept for an extended period of time.”
The North of Ireland’s chief social worker says Covid-19 restrictions “have put vulnerable children and families under increased pressure”.
Mr Holland says this involves economic pressure, as well as other factors associated with the lockdown.
“Families with children with a disability have been particularly hard hit, partly by the closure of special schools and the loss of services,” he explains.
“We also know that young care experience people are at higher risk of social isolation and mental ill health and restrictions have been particularly difficult for them.”
He says a recent report found that the number of excess deaths in care homes here was lower than in England, Scotland and Wales “through the first phase of this pandemic”.
“I don’t actually think that the general public realises that this was the case,” he says.
“But it’s important they do so now.
“They need to realise that unless through all our behaviour we bring down the level of community transmission in Northern Ireland it will not be the case going forward.”