MORE than 50 care homes across Colchester and Tendring have registered suspected or confirmed outbreaks of Covid-19.

The latest figures from Public Health England show 57 homes may have had outbreaks.

The figures are up to the week commencing May 18 and take into account suspected and confirmed outbreaks including residential and nursing homes.

In Colchester, 26 care homes have reported potential outbreaks and in Tendring a total of 31 were reported.

For Colchester this was three more than had reported outbreaks up to May 17, and it means that at least 34 per cent of residential and nursing homes in the area have been hit by the virus.

In Tendring, 29 per cent of care homes have reported potential outbreaks.

Across Essex, 190 care homes have reported possible outbreaks of the virus since the pandemic began.

The most recent data for north Essex shows 56 deaths due to Covid-19 have been recorded outside of hospital including 45 in care homes.

Of the care home deaths, 20 happened in Colchester and 25 in Tendring.

Top health bosses have said it is still too soon to look at allowing people to visit care homes despite guidance on shielding being updated.

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, said: “In a care home setting it is important the level of infection is kept very low because it is an accumulation if you like of a number of very vulnerable people often.”

She said, while colleagues in the Department of Health are reviewing what visiting measures should be, it is “probably a little bit too early” for advice to change.

It comes as a further six deaths of patients who tested positive for coronavirus have been confirmed at Essex’s hospital trusts.

One death has been confirmed at the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital.

A total of 333 patients have now died after contracting the virus at the trust.

A further death was also confirmed at the Essex Partnership Trust.