THE number of people with coronavirus in hospitals in south and mid Essex has increased in the past week.

The latest figures from NHS England shows the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust was caring for 169 coronavirus patients in hospital as of Tuesday.

That was up from 131 on the same day the previous week.

The number of beds at Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals occupied by people who tested positive for Covid-19 more than doubled in the last four weeks – 28 days ago, there were 78.

But the total of 169 is still much less than the same time last year, when a second wave of coronavirus was hitting south Essex.

Back on December 31, 2020, there were 4,62 Covid patients in hospital in Basildon, Southend and Broomfield.

Across England there were 9,546 people in hospital with Covid as of December 28 this year, with 758 of them in mechanical ventilation beds.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised nationally increased by 56% in the last four weeks, however the number on mechanical ventilators has decreased by 6%.

The figures also show that 170 new Covid patients were admitted to hospital in Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust in the week to December 26.

This was up from 123 in the previous seven days.

It comes as Covid cases have surged across south Essex in the last fortnight, with Southend, Basildon and Thurrock all seeing 3,000 new infections a week.