The rate of deaths in care homes in North Devon and Torridge has more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Figures published on Tuesday showed that two of the 22 deaths recorded in care homes in North Devon and Torridge between April 25 and May 1 were coronavirus-related.

The ONS said the numbers are based on where Covid-19 is mentioned anywhere on a death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.

However, the number of deaths of all causes taking place in care homes has risen significantly during the pandemic when compared to the first 14 weeks of the year.

The ONS figures show a total of 103 deaths recorded in care homes in the two districts between April 4 and May 1 – an average of more than 25 each week.

Only 17 of those have been linked to coronavirus.

By comparison, there were 162 deaths recorded in care homes in the first 14 weeks of the year – an average of just over 11 each week.

In total, the virus has been linked to 38 deaths in North Devon and Torridge between April 4 and May 1, with 20 deaths recorded in hospital, 17 in care homes and one in a household.

There were seven deaths linked to the virus across the two districts between April 25 and May 1, with five recorded in hospital.

Just under 15 per cent of deaths recorded in the district in that week were coronavirus-related.