More than 30 care homes across Colchester and Tendring have registered suspected or confirmed outbreaks of Covid-19.

The latest figures from Public Health England show 27.4 per cent of care homes in the East of England have reported outbreaks of coronavirus.

The figures are up to the week commencing April 21 and take into account suspected and confirmed outbreaks including residential and nursing homes.

In Colchester, 14 care homes have reported potential outbreaks and in Tendring a total of 17 have registered suspected outbreaks.

Across Essex, 96 care homes have reported possible outbreaks of the virus since the pandemic began.

The figures show nearly a third of all care homes in England have reported coronavirus outbreaks.

Some 4,516 homes have reported outbreaks from March 17 up until Monday this week.

It comes as the Government began to include deaths outside of hospital in its daily figures.

The most recent data for north Essex shows 14 deaths due to Covid-19 have been recorded outside of hospital including nine in care homes.

Helen Whately, minister for care, said the new method of reporting figures would help Government “better understand” the impact of the outbreak in care homes.

She said: “I am determined that people living in care homes continue to receive the best care possible during these challenging times.

“Sadly, this pandemic has already taken many lives, and my heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones before their time.”

Unison has also called on councils in Essex to sign a pledge protecting care workers.

It wants them to commit to a set of minimum standards including priority testing, suitable personal protective equipment and full pay during self-isolation.

Sam Leigh, from UNISON, said: “By properly protecting care staff we’re in a better position to properly protect care users.”