Bury is the only borough in Greater Manchester where cases increased last week, with the most recent figure showing a 15% increase in positive tests.
One area of Bury – Whitehead Park, which is west of the city center – has been a particular hotspot, according to the latest data.
There were 65 confirmed cases in the region in the seven days leading up to December 4, up from just 20 cases the week before.
That meant Whitehead Park had an infection rate of 877 cases per 100,000 population – one of the highest rates in the country and by far the highest in Greater Manchester.
If the increase in Whitehead Park cases were removed from the data, the infection rate would have declined in Bury for the week ending December 4, rather than increasing.
The Whitehead Park peak has now been linked to outbreaks at two area care homes, the Manchester Evening News can reveal.
The outbreaks occurred in the week of December 4. Residents and staff were affected.
Together, the outbreaks account for more than two-thirds of cases in the region that week and were detected through routine testing.
Andrea Simpson, deputy leader and cabinet member for health and wellness on the Bury board, told the Manchester Evening News : “The Whitehead Park area contains a number of retirement homes. Unfortunately, there were outbreaks in two nursing homes in this area in the week leading up to December 4.
“The reported cases related to these outbreaks include both residents and staff.
“Some of the staff may not live in this area, but were related to it because they work in the nursing homes.
“These outbreaks together account for more than two-thirds of cases in this region during this week.
“These epidemics were detected through routine testing.
“We are working closely with the outbreaks to help them manage outbreaks.”
An area nursing home, MHA Epworth Grange, in Chirmside Street confirmed to MEN that there had been a “very small number” of positive cases at the home.
A Methodist Homes (MHA) spokesperson said, “We have a very small number of cases.
“They will have been in the last 14 days.
“We are continuing our strict methods of preventing infections.”
On Tuesday, RC High St Gabriel in Bury confirmed there had been an outbreak at the school. The school is just outside the limits of Whitehead Park, but students can live in the Whitehead Park area.
Last week, 27 students who tested positive for the virus and the workforce were also affected, with 25 staff absent.
Following the large number of cases, the school principal warned parents to stop sending their children to school with symptoms of the virus.