An urgent plea for people to follow the coronavirus rules has been issued after Middlesbrough reported the highest number of positive test results in the town since the pandemic began.
Case numbers reached their highest on Tuesday, December 29 with 143 positive cases returned - nearly double the previous high for the month which was 73 cases on Tuesday, December 22.
The previous high throughout the whole pandemic was recorded on Tuesday, November 10 when the number was 110.
South Tees Director of Public Health Mark Adams has urged those who have tested positive and their contacts to isolate and for people to stick rigidly to the guidelines.
He said: "Middlesbrough is now in Tier 4 of the Coronavirus restrictions and people really need to understand the seriousness of the risk of the spread of infection and stick to the rules to prevent that.
"Some of these community cases will need to be admitted to hospital over the next two weeks, at the busiest time of the year for the NHS. This is both incredibly concerning for those admitted and their families, but also crowds out hospital care for other important and urgent conditions.
"Positive cases, residents who have symptoms of Covid-19 and their contacts can reduce the impact of additional infection by self-isolating immediately.
"The only reason someone self-isolating should leave their home is to get a Covid-19 test if needed. Although this is hard, it is only way to stop the virus spreading further.
"Our local team is available to provide advice and support to isolate on EHTS@middlesbrough.gov.uk. The email is not monitored 24/7 but a member of staff will answer your message."
People who do need to self-isolate are also being reminded of the help and support -including payments to support people who may struggle with money if they cannot work - that is available. Stay at home guidance can be found here.
The main Covid-19 symptoms are:
a high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
A test and trace payment support scheme is in place to help those who need to self-isolate. Anyone eligible for the scheme will receive £500 to cover loss of income during the isolation.
Middlesbrough residents are reminded Covid tests are available from 8am-8pm every day at Cannon Park opposite the Royal Mail, and at Teesside University's Printworks car park off Woodlands Road. Both will operate reduced opening hours on New Year's Day between 9am-3pm.
Tests can be booked online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.