Coronavirus has been linked to the deaths of at least 70 people in Cornwall care homes since the start of the crisis, new figures reveal.

However, the majority of these occurred earlier in the pandemic.

Office for National Statistics data shows that 212 deaths involving Covid-19 had been provisionally registered in Cornwall from the start of the pandemic up until October 17.

Of those, 88 occurred outside hospital – including 70 in care homes and 18 at private homes. However, there have only been two care home deaths recorded since July 18.

In the three months to October 17 in Cornwall:

  • Deaths outside hospital increased by two, climbing to a total of 88.
  • Hospital deaths increased by two to 124.
  • The overall death toll climbed by four.

Read next: Coronavirus in Cornwall round up: Friday, October 23

The Independent Care Group has called for a "short, sharp lockdown" to curb the spread of infection in care homes nationally, as fatalities in care homes across England and Wales rose for the fifth week in a row.

In the week ending October 9 there were 63 care home deaths across the two countries that mentioned "novel coronavirus" on the death certificate.

Between the two countries 53,789 deaths involving Covid-19 have been provisionally registered since March up to October 17. Of those, 29 per cent (15,747) were in care homes and just under two-thirds in hospital.

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group, said: "We are now starting to see more significant increases in the number of Covid-19 deaths in care and nursing homes and we have to act quickly.

"At the moment we have people travelling all over the place, from areas of high infection rate to low areas, so the virus is bound to spread and spread.

"It is regrettable, but I feel the only way is to lock down again and protect our oldest and most vulnerable in particular, until we can regain control."

Deaths in all settings have steadily risen across England and Wales amid rising positive case numbers; 438 Covid-related fatalities were registered across the two countries in the seven days to October 9, marking the largest rise in a single week since early July.

Meanwhile, the NHS Confederation said it is too early to tell whether the government’s interventions were having an impact.