MORE than 15,000 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Essex last week.

The latest statistics from Essex County Council show in the seven days to December 31 there were 15,474 cases.

As of Tuesday (January 5), there were 1,024 beds occupied by confirmed Covid-19 patients in Essex hospital trusts.

This equates to 34 per cent of trust capacity and is 7 per cent lower compared to bed occupancy one week previous on December 29.

There has been a data reporting issue recently which has led to an under reporting of bed occupancy of circa 250.

With this data added, it equates to an approximate 15 per cent increase.

This chart shows the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the previous seven days per 100,000.

For example, 31 December relates to 25 December to 31 December.

This chart shows the number of new Essex COVID-19 cases recorded in each age band, in the previous 7 days.

And this table shows the infection rate in all Essex County Council areas for the last two weeks. 

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It comes as health bosses say 1 in 18 people in Essex has the virus. 

Mike Gogarty, the director of public health for Essex, revealed the worrying figure this week, while also saying south Essex had seen a rise in asymptomatic positive results in recent weeks.

This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed one in 50 people have the virus in the UK.

In an interview with BBC Essex, Mr Gogarty, whose remit covers the Essex County Council area, said: "We've found that nearly 6 per cent of people we tested using lateral flow tests in south Essex came back positive. 

"That's three times the national average of two per cent."