There were 24 deaths involving coronavirus in Cumbria in the last seven days, new figures have revealed.
That's according to the county's health board who say COVID-19 hospital admissions are sharply rising, with 222 people in hospitals across the two NHS Trusts (64 in North Cumbria and 158 Morecambe Bay). Up from 159 last week – a 40% increase.
Director of Public Health Colin Cox has stressed that Cumbrians must continue to respect national lockdown measures and follow the public health guidance.
He said: "The whole county now needs to follow suit, so we can get infections down to manageable levels and avoid our NHS services being overwhelmed.”
Dr Jon Sturman, Clinical Director for Intensive Care for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The virus does not spread itself, we spread it, so we are all responsible for slowing and stopping the spread.
"Washing your hands, wearing a face mask and keeping your distance is our best defence against this horrible virus at the moment.
"I have seen first-hand what a nasty virus this is. It can kill but it can also leave others with lasting debilitating effects."
Despite hospital figures rising, Mr Cox said the latest infection rates in Cumbria figures are giving 'cause for cautious optimism'. Overall the rate of increase is slowing down.
Speaking on Thursday, Mr Cox told ITV Border: "In some places there's been a very dramatic difference.
"In Barrow, which used to be our highest by quite a long way, has now got the lowest rate in Cumbria because it's been coming down for the last month. So that's really positive news.
"Slightly more concerning in the west coast in Allerdale and Copeland where the rates have still been going up but other than that things are relatively stable."
This week’s data shows:
There were 999 new cases in Cumbria (+39 increase, +4%, from 960 cases in previous week);
For the 3rd week in a row Carlisle had the highest number of new cases (+293 new cases);
Carlisle also had the highest rate of new cases (270 new cases per 100k population) and was well above the England average (245 new cases per 100k population)
Numbers of new cases increased steeply in Allerdale and Copeland, with smaller increases in Eden and Carlisle;
Numbers of new cases in Barrow and South Lakeland decreased from the previous week (by -42% and -8% respectively);
For the 4th week in a row, the 45-59 age group accounted for the greatest number of new cases in Cumbria.
Local Registrars data shows 24 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the last seven days.
The weekly COVID-19 situation report can be found here.