THE number of people killed by Covid-19 across Cumbria is now creeping towards 500, new figures show.

The latest government update has confirmed that as many as 487 people across the county may now have died as a result of the virus. The figure includes 91 confirmed deaths in care homes and 92 which experts say are likely to have been caused by Covid-19.

There are currently 24 homes in the county where there are coronavirus outbreaks.

Local hospital fatalities yesterday stood at 304. Of these, 146 were reported by North Cumbria Integrated Care Foundation Trust, which runs West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and The Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

At University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, which manages Furness General Hospital and another hospital in Lancaster, the death toll was 158. Over the last five days, both NHS trusts each had three days when no hospital deaths were reported.

Professor John Howarth, deputy chief executive at north Cumbrian NHS hospitals trust, said: “We have come through the first wave, largely, though there are still concerns in care homes and we still have a significant number of people in hospital who have tested positive for Covid-19. But the majority of the population are still vulnerable. A lot of us are really worried about the winter. We may get a further wave. The message is that we have to socially distance.” Hospital staff in Cumbria have done and are doing fantastic work with Covid-19 patients, he added.