HEALTH bosses say an additional 14,000 people across Essex will be told to stay at home and shield.

Around 2.2 million people are currently on the list in England, which will expand to almost four million when the additional people are included.

It comes after a new tool has been used by scientists to identify people who are at an increased risk of death or serious illness if they catch coronavirus.

Using medical records, it assesses which people are at higher risk based on multiple factors including age, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), other health conditions and also postcode, which is indicative of levels of deprivation.

It has identified an additional 1.7 million people in England who will be sent a letter advising them to shield to keep themselves safe.

Essex County Council says it expects 14,000 more people in Essex will now be asked to shield.

They will also be eligible for the vaccine sooner.

There are already 54,570 people in Essex on the list. 

A spokesman said: "Research commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer has identified clinically extremely vulnerable people who may be at increased risk of becoming seriously unwell from Covid-19.

"This means that approximately 14,000 additional people in Essex will need to shield and will be eligible for vaccination sooner.

"The will be in touch with all clinically extremely vulnerable people in Essex, so that they can receive the Covid-19 vaccination and offer further advice and support."

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Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer for England, said the 1.7 million, if they join the list, will receive the additional support available to those deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable, including medicine deliveries, priority slots for supermarkets and statutory sick pay.

“All of these people who are identified for the first time are those who have not had an individual clinical condition that we’ve previously been able to identify through the clinically extremely vulnerable group, but they are people who have multiple personal risk factors and underlying health conditions which move them into a higher risk group,” she said.

Dr Harries said the approach was “risk averse” to “protect as many people as possible”.

Officials will be advising that shielding continues until March 31.