THE social care sector in Merseyside has been pushed to the limit by coronavirus.

In total, there were 163 suspected or confirmed outbreaks of Covid-19 in Merseyside’s care homes between March 9 and May 10.

That means 39%, or just under two in every five, Merseyside care homes have reported coronavirus outbreaks.

More than 50% of Liverpool’s care homes have reported outbreaks of Covid-19 as the city continues to be hit hard by the virus.

47 Liverpool care homes have reported coronavirus outbreaks, which works out as 53% of all care homes in the city.

As early as March, Oak Springs care home in Wavertree was plunged into crisis as 16 of its residents died from Covid-19.

That particular care home has turned things around, but outbreaks of the virus are still being reported across the city and the region as a whole.

Of all the boroughs in our region, Knowsley has been the worst affected on average.

16 of Knowsley’s care homes have reported Covid-19 outbreaks, which works out as 59% of all care homes in the borough.

The picture is slightly less bad in St Helens, where 46% of care homes have reported outbreaks of the virus, in Wirral where the rate stood at 34% and in Sefton where 30% of its care homes had reported outbreaks.

The number of outbreaks of Covid-19 reported in one week in our borough’s care homes peaked at 54 in the week ending April 12.

Last week, there were five new reported outbreaks, which was up from four the week before.

The figures, which come from reports to Public Health England, only include each care home once, so if a care home reports multiple outbreaks only the first is included in these figures.

There was some encouragement to draw from the statistics on a national level, as reported outbreaks in care homes were down to 418 last week from 699 the week before.