Numbers of known coronavirus deaths in Northamptonshire rose by 21 today following publication of yet more sobering figures.
NHS England revealed 11 deaths among Covid-19 patients have so far been recorded during the last four days in the county's two main hospitals.
Nine of the deaths were at Northampton General Hospital, two at Kettering — plus another at KGH on November 28 which was included in official figures for the first time today.
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Weekly data from the Care Quality Commission added nine more deaths linked to the virus in Northamptonshire's care homes between December 12 and December 16.
On Monday, Northamptonshire saw it's third highest total of positive Covid-19 tests since the pandemic began in March with 277 new cases.
All of those, plus anyone told they have been in close contact by NHS Test and Trace, will be required to self-isolate for ten days — including over the Christmas period.
Lucy Wightman, Northamptonshire's Director of Public Health, admitted: “At the moment I am still deeply concerned about the rising trend of cases as we head into the festive period.
"The last thing anyone wants to give the ones they love for Christmas is Covid-19, so we all need to be extra cautious.
“I urge you to think very carefully about meeting your loved ones indoors over the festive period.
This year has been one of the toughest I can remember and the thing that has affected me the most is hearing people’s stories of the sacrifices they have made and indeed the human
sacrifice because of this dreadful virus.
"The best gift I can give anybody I love this Christmas is their health and that means that I will keep my distance and I urge you all to do the same.”
Both Northamptonshire and South Northamptonshire have rolling-rates of more than 250 positive tests per week per 100,000 people.
That is roughly the same as Peterborough's less than two weeks ago — yet Northamptonshire's near-neighbour was put into Tier Four on Saturday with Christmas gatherings scrapped and non-essential shops and services shut following the discovery of a new variant of the virus increasing the pace of transmission.
All deaths included in the NHS daily data either tested positive for Covid-19 within the previous 28 days or had the virus mentioned on a death certificate.
Northamptonshire's two main acute trusts have now reported 195 coronavirus deaths during the second wave of the pandemic out of a total of 726.
The latest care home deaths took the total in Northamptonshire to 198 — although many more were never recognised as the Government only bowed to pressure and began counting in April.
Of those, 39 have occurred in the last 3½ weeks, according figures reported by the CQC.