BASILDON has been highlighted as a Covid-19 hotspot where cases continue to rise - as cases across much of the county "levelling off". 

Essex County Council public health director Dr Mike Gogarty has raised concerns on the situation in the area after the rate reached the highest point since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Basildon's seven-day rolling rate - expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 population - is now 242, with 453 cases confirmed in the last seven days. 

In contrast, in the previous seven-day period recorded a rate of 130.9, when 245 new cases were confirmed. 

Within the Basildon borough, the latest statistics show the biggest week-on-week rise is in Steeple View and Noak Bridge, which saw 41 new cases, up from 31 from the previous seven days. 

That equates to a 310 per cent increase and a local virus rate of 454.6 - well above the England average. 

Southend Standard:

 

The south Essex picture - cases continue to rise across south Essex 

 

Dr Mike Gogarty, director of public health at Essex County Council, said: "Over last two weeks we have seen a levelling out of cases in Essex.

"But sadly over the last week we have started to see an increase again, more pronounced in south and west parts of the county, particular in Epping, Brentwood and Basildon. 

"In other areas, we've seen a real reduction in cases, particularly in Colchester and in Tendering."

He added: "Overall, the level of cases is below what we expected when we went into Tier 2 [in October]. 

"The cases have been across all age groups [and] the 18-22 age group is starting to go up again.

"And sadly we're seeing cases in older people being reflected in hospital admissions and sadly deaths."

Referring to how the county will emerge from the month-long lockdown, he added: "It is absolutely critical that if Essex is to leave current restrictions in the best possible shape, people must keep working from home where they can.

"Working for home has a really big impact on the R-number."

He also urged people to continie to avoid contact with other households and urged: "When you're out and about, treat everyone as if they are infected."