COVID-19 continues to claim lives in Shropshire.

During the last period for which figures are available five people died in hospitals in the county with a Covid-19 diagnosis and 43 beds were occupied by people with the virus.

There were 1.004 new cases, a fall of 12 per cent but the bad news is that the infection rate of 308.5 per 100,000 population is higher than the average in both the West Midlands region (296.9 per 100,000 and for England (253.2 cases per 100,000).

In Ludlow, there were 47 cases, a rise of 12 and the town had an infection rate of 428.9 per 100,000, higher than in Shropshire, the West Midlands and England.

There was a huge increase in Cleobury Mortimer and Ashford Carbonnell with 93 new cases, more than double the previous week and an infection rate of 1,010.6 per 100,000).

The Shropshire Health Protection Team has been dealing with 74 outbreaks, most of them in schools.

“Sadly, we’ve seen a further five deaths in our hospitals, who continue to see an increase in hospitalisations of Covid-19 patients, the majority of which remain unvaccinated, which is concerning,” said Rachel Robinson, the county’s director of public health.

“I would therefore urge anyone who has not yet had their vaccine to please take up the offer.

“The NHS ‘evergreen’ vaccination offer is for anyone who has yet to accept the opportunity to be vaccinated. You can still get your first and second doses at walk-in clinics across the county. Not only will this help stop the spread of the virus but also help reduce the risk of serious illness.”