THE county’s health chief has urged the public to keep up the good work fighting coronavirus, after Worcestershire recorded its worst weekend death toll since April.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, director of public health for Worcestershire, said the increase in cases was a warning we must continue to take the virus seriously.

She said: “The increase in case numbers and deaths across the county is a real concern. It is also a stark reminder that Coronavirus remains in our communities.

"It is imperative that we all continue to take the virus seriously, following the Hand, Face, Space and social distancing guidelines at all times.

"The guidelines apply to everyone and following them is the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus.

"This includes staying the full two metres apart from other people. By doing all we can and avoiding social contact with others, we are saving lives. It is that simple.

"This high level of social distancing is vital to keep everyone safe and to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”

READ MORE: Worcestershire hit by worst coronavirus weekend death toll since April

Dr Cobain was speaking after 12 new coronavirus-related deaths were recorded across the weekend of November 14 and 15.

This is the worst weekend figure experienced since April, though the number of deaths is still some way off the 30 recorded on April 18 and 19.

The weeks and months since then have seen consistently low death rates. In recent weeks, there has been either zero or one death reported most days.

The death toll coincides with the news that the number of Covid patients in county hospitals has reached levels not seen since May.

A total of 64 beds were occupied by Covid patients in Worcestershire on November 5, according to the latest NHS figures. Seven of the people in hospital with Covid were using a ventilator.

The last time the number of occupied beds was that high among Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was in May. Figures show there was a sharp increase in Covid patients being admitted to hospital towards the end of October, with eight people taken onto wards in the last two weeks. Six of the people were admitted in the week up to November 4.

The highest average number of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients during a month in Worcestershire was 110 in April.