Fears are growing that hundreds of people are dying with coronavirus in care homes but not being included in daily government updates.
Britain's biggest care home operator, C-One, revealed two-thirds of its homes have been affected and more than 300 people have died in them.
Meanwhile, Care England said there have been thousands of cases and deaths in the homes it represents.
Care minister Helen Whately explained on Sky News that counting care home deaths quickly is "much harder than in hospitals" because the care sector is "far more fragmented" with many different providers.
She insisted outbreaks in care homes were "almost unavoidable" – despite government advice issued at the end of February and withdrawn in mid-March that said: "It remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected."
Tests have now been pledged to all who need them in care homes – including staff and residents – with the Care Quality Commission charged with coordinating who will get them and when.
Currently the government's daily deaths update only includes patients who die after testing positive for the virus in hospital.
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But stories are emerging every day of care homes announcing residents are dying with COVID-19 symptoms – with not enough tests rolled out to confirm the diagnosis.
The latest deaths occurred at Green Heys Care Home in Waterloo, Merseyside, where eight residents passed away.