HUNDREDS of people are believed to have contracted Covid in hospital at Mid and South Essex Trust, figures reveal.

NHS data shows that between August 1 and March 21, 854 people were thought to have been infected with Covid at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, while being treated in hospital for other conditions.

The highest number of such transmissions was recorded in January alone, when 298 people were believed to have been infected in hospital.

The trust, which runs Broomfield, Basildon and Southend Hospitals, cared for 6,272 Covid-19 patients between August 1 and March 21 – meaning 14 per cent are thought to have contracted the disease in hospital.

However, this is below the 17 per cent average for all NHS acute trusts across the East of England.

Across England, 40,670 people are thought to have been infected with Covid in hospital since August.

An NHS spokesman said: "The Office for National Statistics and other data conclusively demonstrate that the root cause of rising infection rates in hospitals is rising rates in the community.

"Since asymptomatic tests kits were made available for the first time by the Government’s Test and Trace programme in November, millions of staff have been tested helping to keep infections as low as possible, and all staff have been asked to rigorously follow Public Health England’s infection control guidance with hospital infection rates currently standing at around 4.2 per cent."