COVID-19 is continuing to claim lives in Cumbria, with the virus now responsible for the deaths of 428 patients at the three NHS trusts with hospitals in the county.

According to the latest Government figures, the death toll at the trust which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital currently stands at 191, with the last fatality on October 22.

By contrast, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Furness General Hospital, Westmorland General, and hospitals in Lancashire, has seen a surge of Covid-19 deaths.

There were no deaths on Monday, but over the previous five days, 18 patients were reported as having died from the virus. The trust’s coronavirus death toll since the start of the pandemic has risen to 230.

Meanwhile, more local authority area level data shows that Carlisle’s infection rate has continued rising steadily since September 17.

At that point, the number of new cases was just three - but by October 26 that figure had risen to 41 while the rate per 100,000 of population was estimated to be just over 238 - the highest infection rate seen in the city since the pandemic began.

In Barrow, where tighter restrictions have been in place longer than in Carlisle, case numbers have fallen dramatically, with just 23 on October 26, though the infection rate per 100,000 of population two days later was below that in Carlisle, standing at 235.6.

New infections in Copeland has fallen in recent days, down from 14 on October 26 to six on Monday, while in Allerdale on November 1 there were 12 new cases, down from 15 a few days earlier. In Eden, the number of cases per 100,000 was 157.7.

Experts hope the lockdown due to come into force across England from Thursday drive down infection rates and buy more time while work on the long-awaited vaccine continues.

There was little doubt that the lockdown would be approved in the Commons - despite opposition from some MPs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said not having a lockdown would risk the “medical and moral disaster” of an overwhelmed NHS.

Seven patients at the NHS trust which runs Carlisle’s psychiatric Carleton Clinic have died from Covid-19.