SIXTY care home residents have died across Cheshire East and West over the past two months with coronavirus on the death certificate.

Covid infections in care homes and the loss of lives that followed was one of the biggest tragedies in the first wave of the pandemic last spring.

The situation improved over the summer as restrictions were eased, but new figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the second wave has also had an impact at care homes in Cheshire East and West.

Between November 7 and January 9, the two councils recorded 60 care home residents had Covid-related deaths.

The Nuffield Trust says the rising number of positive cases and deaths in care homes ‘paints a worrying picture’ – warning the impact of vaccinations may not be seen for weeks.

Sarah Scobie, deputy director of research, added: “Nobody wants to see a repeat of the first wave where the virus spread through care homes at pace.”

In Cheshire East, which includes Knutsford and Middlewich, there were 25 Covid-related deaths at care homes in the same period – taking the borough’s total to 253 since the pandemic began.

Cheshire West, which includes Northwich and Winsford, had 35 – taking the total number of Covid-related deaths at the borough’s care homes to 147 since the pandemic started.

Between November 7 and January 9, there were also 26 deaths from Covid at private homes in Cheshire West and 14 in Cheshire East, plus 17 in hospices or other community settings across the area.

Over the same period, there have been 272 deaths from coronavirus in the borough’s hospitals, which include Leighton, Macclesfield and the Countess of Chester.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s incredibly important that vaccinations are offered to everybody in care homes and the NHS is working very hard to deliver on that with their colleagues in social care.”