TWO more people have died in north Cumbria after contracting Covid-19.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust recorded the latest deaths in the 24-hour period up to 4pm yesterday.

The figures, from NHS England, show that this takes the total number of Covid-19 deaths recorded by the trust - which runs Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven - to more than 200.

County-wide the number of lives claimed by the virus has surpassed 500.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there have been 519 deaths since the start of the pandemic of people who had a positive test result for Covid-19 and died within 28 days.

Across the county there were 983 new cases - that's a rate of 196.6 per 100,000 population - recorded in the most recent seven day period up to Monday November 16, with the R number estimated to be 1 to 1.1

In Cumbria's six districts the latest number of confirmed cases were:

  • Allerdale: 168 cases / 171.8 per 100,000 population
  • Barrow: 119 cases / 117.5 per 100,000 population
  • Carlisle: 267 cases / 245.7 per 100,000 population
  • Copeland: 112 cases / 164,3 per 100,000 population
  • Eden: 91 cases / 170.9 per 100,000 population
  • South Lakeland: 226 cases / 215.1 per 100,000 population.

The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers has warned that despite community transmission rates slowing, it is too early to think about easing coronavirus restrictions.

Saffron Cordery told BBC Breakfast that a drop in infection rates in some part of the country hasn't yet translated into a drop in hospital admissions.

"There is a lag in the spread reducing in the community and it actually reducing in terms of hospital admissions, because when someone contracts coronavirus it would probably be 10 days to two weeks before the become a hospital admission," she said.

Ms Cordery said the reproduction number - the R value - of coronavirus was reducing most sharply in the areas that had the strictest lockdown measures before the English national lockdown was imposed, but that increases had been seen in the south and south-west.

"I think it would be really tempting to say 'OK this lockdown is working, let's lift all restrictions on December 2 and go back to where we were' but I think that could put us in danger in terms both in controlling the spread of the virus and what it means for the NHS," she said.

The lockdown, she said, was "absolutely critical" at the moment because it is currently the only way to control the spread of the virus and that it is important to consider the pressure faced by the NHS before restrictions are eased.

Ms Cordey also said she expects lockdown restrictions to be in place into the new year to get us through the "hump of winter-meets-coronavirus".

"There's this huge hope (of a vaccine) among staff and among the general public and this sense of 'oh we can take our foot off the peddle now'," she said.

"But actually we can't, we need to hold on just a little while longer until all of the elements are in place."