'Stay home, save lives' plea underlined following more Covid deaths in Northamptonshire

County is in the "worst position in the East Mids" and situation is going "from bad to worse" warns health director

Local health chiefs are ramping up pleas for Northamptonshire to stick to the lockdown and stay at home to save lives after more sobering Covid-19 news.

Under the lockdown restrictions, people can only leave their homes for reasons such as essential shopping, work, exercise and to seek medical assistance.

Northamptonshire's Director of Public Health, Lucy Wightman, admitted the situation is going from bad to worse and the Government's move will test residents' resilience once again.

In the past 24 hours:

■ NHS England confirmed 10 more deaths among Covid-19 patients in hospitals at Northampton and Kettering

■ Four more coronavirus deaths were reported in county care homes

■ Northamptonshire saw in excess of 1,000 positive tests in a single day for the first time, according to Government figures

Latest official figures show how fast the virus is being spread across Northamptonshire. Source: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases

■ Around 6,000 people plus any close contacts are currently self-isolating under the Test and Trace protocol as a result of positive tests during the past ten days

■ Corby saw the biggest daily jump anywhere in England with 141 positive swabs up 144 per cent in 24 hours

■ Northampton Saints shut their training ground and cancelled Saturday's big rugby clash with Leicester after a number of positive tests at Franklin's Gardens

Mrs Wightman admitted: "The situation is going from bad to worse.

"Northamptonshire is in the worst position in the East Midlands.

"We were surrounded by Tier Three and Tier Four areas for some time and those case rates have significantly affected ours.

"We're now top of the table from a point of view of positivity and case rates in a lot of our boroughs and districts in the whole of East Midlands region.

"I know this is exceptionally difficult for residents but given the concerning data and the current pressure on our NHS services, the Government’s action is absolutely essential.

"We are now in a situation of exponential growth which, if left unchecked, will undoubtedly lead to our NHS services being overwhelmed.

"Our NHS hospitals are coping but only a day-by-day basis. About 30 per cent of beds are currently occupied by Covid-positive patients which has a significant impact on the number of available beds for patients who don't have Covid.

“We must all play our part and stay at home. If we do venture out, for reasons permitted, then we must continue to wash our hands, cover our face and keep our distance."

Wednesday's NHS England bulletin confirmed six deaths among coronavirus patients at Kettering General Hospital and four at Northampton General Hospital during the past three days.

All had either tested positive for Covid-19 within the last 28 days or had the virus mentioned on a death certificate.

Four deaths linked to coronavirus in county care homes were reported by the Care Quality Commission up to December 30.