THE number of coronavirus cases in Cumbria's care homes has dropped to just four, official figures have confirmed.

According to data from Cumbria County Council, there are thought to have have been 225 care home Covid-19 fatalities in the county - 123 of them confirmed and 102 suspected.

Experts say that 'suspected' cases are those which are highly likely to be linked to the virus but Covid-19 is not formally recorded on the death certificate.

Despite that grim statistic, officials say that the currently low number of infections is a vindication of the county's test, track and trace strategy.

At the height of the pandemic, there were outbreaks in 28 care homes across Cumbria, with some suffering multiple deaths.

The Office for National Statistics has just released localised data showing confirmed Covid-19 death figures for local authority areas.

Covering the period up until July 1, the statistics confirmed those non-hospital deaths where the virus is mentioned as a cause of death.

The figures are as listed for each of the county's local authority areas, including:

* Allerdale, where there were 69 Covid-19 deaths registered, 14 of which in care homes and five in privately owned homes. A further death occurred in a hospice. There were 13 deaths in care homes up to June 20.

* Copeland, where there were 62 deaths put down to Covid-19 up to July 18, 25 of which were in care home and five in private homes; up to June 20, there were 22 Covid-19 care home deaths.

* And Carlisle, where there were 129 Covid-19 deaths registered up to July 18, of which 60 were in hospital, 50 in care homes, six in private homes, and a further four in hospices.

There were 59 deaths outside hospitals up to June 20.

Officials say that the latest official data shows a dramatic weakening of the virus's impact in the county's care home.

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has told a parliamentary committee that ministers and experts failed to recognise care home residents were at risk from workers spreading Covid-19 earlier on in the pandemic.

His comments came as new figures revealed that deaths linked to the virus nationally are at their lowest level since before lockdown.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “This has been a really difficult period for the care sector in Cumbria and very sadly despite people’s best efforts we have lost 225 people to COVID-19 in care homes.

"But the whole care sector, public and private, has worked together very closely to bring the situation under control and thankfully we have no homes currently experiencing outbreaks.

“We must remain on our guard, further outbreaks are possible, but we now have tried and tested ways of responding that put us in a strong position. We now need the help of the whole community to keep our care homes safe.”

Care home outbreaks are defined as situations involving more than one infection in a home, say officials.