MORE people have died at home on the Isle of Wight during the coronavirus pandemic than in the years before it, figures suggest.

End of life charity Marie Curie said many people across England and Wales avoided hospitals during the crisis because they wanted to protect the NHS, or feared catching coronavirus.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 694 deaths at homes on the Isle of Wight between the start of 2020 and August 20, 2021.

Of those, 449 occurred last year – 100 more than the annual average of 349 recorded between 2015 and 2019.

And so far in 2021 there have been 245 deaths at private homes, compared to an average of 224 for the same period in pre-pandemic years.

Across England and Wales, there were around 99,000 deaths at home in the first 33 weeks of 2021 – 23 per cent more than the five-year average.

By contrast, hospitals saw a three per cent fall, and care homes a five per cent fall.

The Nuffield Trust said the pandemic has seen a "sustained rise" in the number of people dying at home compared to the five-year average – though the reasons why are not clear.

Around one per cent of the deaths at private homes on the Isle of Wight had any mention of Covid-19 on the death certificate, compared to three per cent nationally.

There have been 303 Island residents who have died with Covid - 166 in St Mary's Hospital and 137 elsewhere in the community, including ten at home.