The number of coronavirus patients in Essex hospitals has swelled by more than 50 per cent in a week.

As of October 27, there were 191 beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, according to Essex County Council.

This was nearly 55 per cent higher than October 20, when there were 123 beds occupied and significantly higher than the figure recorded on October 14, 68.

The number of weekly confirmed cases of Covid-19 is now above 100 per 100,00 residents for the whole of Essex.

In Epping Forest the rate of infection stands at 132.9 per 100,000, one of the highest rates in the county but someway behind the worst affected district Brentwood, which has posted a rate of 189.6.

Harlow has one of the lowest infection rates in Essex, 85.0, and at its current rate of growth will likely hit 100 in the next week.

Dr Mike Gogarty, the county council’s director of public health, said: “A month ago this would have been considered one of the highest in the country and it is important that we do what we can to prevent further increases in Essex to the sort of levels that we now see in the north east and north west of the country.”

In a video posted to Youtube, Dr Gogarty explained new cases were now more spread across populations groups, with cases as common in elderly and vulnerable people as young people, who previously were getting infected at a higher rate.

As a result, deaths are on the rise.

Between the middle of August and the middle of September there were no coronavirus deaths in hospital across the county. Between October 19 – 24 there were 21 deaths.

Dr Gogary added: “We are mirroring what is being seen across the rest of the country but we are a few weeks behind the worst areas. It’s really important then that we all work together to try and get the R value below one and get Essex back to normality.”

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