The trust which runs Harlow’s main hospital has reported its first coronavirus related death in more than four months.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust reported one Covid-19 patient had died last week while in the trust’s care.

It is the first death to be reported at the trust – which also runs St Margaret’s Hospital and Essex Hospital – since May 25.

The death comes as coronavirus infection rates have spiked in the town.

Between September 18 and 25 – the latest available accurate data – there were 30 new lab-confirmed cases in Harlow, double the 15 cases posted the week before.

The town, which has an approximate population of 85,000, has now recorded an infection rate of 34.5 per 100,000 people.

Essex’s worst affected district Brentwood has posted a rate of 40 infections per, while the second worst hit area Epping Forest is sitting at 36.

There is no defined level of infection that triggers new restrictions, but if an area records more than 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, it is likely extra restrictions will be considered.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s director of public health, said: “To prevent spread and the need for further measures it is important people in these areas take particular action to prevent spread. It is particularly vital that where possible people who can work from home do so and advise their employers why this is so important.

“Where people need to commute especially using public transport it is asked please that you download and use the Covid App. This will allow your identification if you are in contact with a case so you can avoid contact with others who may at high risk.

“Please wear masks where you can, wash hands regularly and especially keep 2 metres apart from others. If you have symptoms you must self-isolate and book a test as soon as possible.

“We are now working with the NHS to facilitate extra testing resource in these areas.”

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