THE number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Northumberland increased five-fold over the past week.

Public Health England confirmed 76 positive cases of the virus in the county on Tuesday, an increase from 13 last week.

An 83-year-old Hexham man died after testing positive to Covid-19 at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington last Wednesday.

The Northumbria Healthcare Trust confirmed that 11 patients had died at a Northumbria Healthcare Hospital over the past two weeks. The trust said all patients had underlying health conditions and were between the ages of 65 and 92.

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, the trust’s executive medical director, said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the patients’ family and friends at this very sad and difficult time.”

There are now 29,474 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK, which have resulted in 2,352 deaths. 135 patients have fully recovered.

NHS England reported 563 deaths in one day on Tuesday – the highest number of deaths for a single day so far.

On Wednesday, NHS England wrote to all trusts instructing them to lift restrictions on testing NHS workers for Covid-19.