Hospitals in Bedfordshire have suspended all visits on adult inpatient wards due to an increase in coronavirus cases.
The case rate in Bedford borough is at a record high, with rates of infection rising in all age groups.
Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable Hospital will now only allow visitors for people receiving end of life care or if a patient is in need of a carer, for example someone with dementia or learning difficulties.
For the exceptional cases where visitors are allowed, they will be required to carry out a lateral flow test beforehand.
Find out more about the coronavirus data in the ITV Anglia region
It comes after the council's chief officer for public health, Ian Brown, said on Thursday there had been ‘astonishing rises’ in cases.
"We've seen quite astonishing rises in the numbers of reported Covid cases over the last couple of weeks, with the overall seven-day rate doubling in the last 14 days"
He also said the number of patients in Bedford Hospital doubled in the past week.
Bedford Borough Council's Local Outbreak Engagement Board heard on Wednesday that 71 patients were in Bedford Hospital with Covid-19 on Wednesday, the highest level since last February.