MORE than 50 people have tested positive for Covid-19 at a care home in Newbury and nine have died following an outbreak.

West Berkshire Council said 31 residents and 24 members of staff have tested positive at Willows Edge care home so far.

According to the council, which runs the care home, nine of those residents died but the other 22 have made “a good recovery”.

Only one member of staff has not returned to work after catching the virus.

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The first positive test was recorded on Sunday, December 6.

The council has been working with Public Health England and the NHS to contain the outbreak at the care home, which specialises in providing care for dementia patients and can accommodate up to 38 people.

In November, the council decided to close the run-down Walnut Close Care Home in Thatcham and move the 17 residents and 25 full-time staff to the other care homes it runs.

Most of the residents and staff are now due to be moved to Birchwood Care Home in Newbury, but some could be sent to Willows Edge or Notrees Care Home in Hungerford.

However, the council promised to test all residents before moving them and said the transfer would be suspended if there were any outbreaks.

During the pandemic, 4,145 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in West Berkshire 157 have died after contracting the virus.

The district had one of the lowest infection rates (54.9 cases per 100,000) in the country when the second national lockdown ended on December 2.

But after a worrying surge in cases in December, driven by the new strain of the virus, West Berkshire’s infection rate now stands at 374.9 cases per 100,000 – after 594 new cases were recorded over the last seven days.