Nearly a dozen further coronavirus-related deaths have occurred in South Lakeland care homes over the last two months, figures reveal.

Health think tank the Nuffield Trust said the rising number of positive cases and deaths in care homes nationally "paints a worrying picture", warning the impact of vaccinations may not be seen for weeks.

Office for National Statistics data shows that 223 deaths involving Covid-19 were provisionally registered in South Lakeland up to January 9.

Of those 92 occurred outside hospital – including 80 in care homes, up from the 70 registered in the week to November 7.

There were 11 deaths at private homes, and a further death in a hospice, another community establishment or elsewhere..

Nuffield Trust deputy director of research Sarah Scobie said numbers of Covid-19 deaths will continue to grow for some time.

She added: “The majority of these deaths are taking place in hospitals, but it is very concerning to see within this latest set of data that the number of Covid deaths in care homes are rising.

"This rise, coupled with an increase in the number of outbreaks of Covid in care homes, paints a worrying picture.

"Nobody wants to see a repeat of the first wave where the virus spread through care homes at pace.

"The vaccination of these most vulnerable people is now under way, but due to the time lag in gaining immunity and collecting this data, we will not see this impact for a few weeks yet.”

Shadow health minister Liz Kendall said there are “worrying signs” the Government risks losing control of the virus in care homes.

Responding, 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.”