The number of coronavirus cases in Blackburn with Darwen increased by 279 over the weekend, official figures show.

A total of 24,817 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 in Blackburn with Darwen when the UK coronavirus daily dashboard was updated on July 19 (Monday), up from 24,538 on Friday.

The rate of infection in Blackburn with Darwen now stands at 16,578 cases per 100,000 people, far higher than the England average of 8,474.

On Monday, doctors and nurses at the Royal Blackburn Hospital described how they are  caring for almost as many criticall ill Covid patients as they were during the height of the first wave of the pandemic last year.

Some of those being cared for are aged in their 20s.

Speaking to the BBC, one member of staff said:

"We have been putting beds in between bed to make Covid bed spaces.

"The whole of the critical care unit as it was is now back to being Covid.

"We've transferred patients out to other hospitals."

She said that the hospital had "far to many" patients to cope with.

Across the UK, the number of recorded cases increased by 141,106 over the period, to 5,473,477.

However, there were no new coronavirus deaths recorded over the weekend in Blackburn with Darwen.

The dashboard shows 433 people had died in the area by July 19 (Monday) – which was unchanged from Friday.

It means there have been four deaths in the past week, which is an increase on one the previous week.

They were among 18,229 deaths recorded across the North West.

The figures include anyone who died within 28 days of a positive test result for Covid-19, and whose usual residence was in Blackburn with Darwen.

Daily death counts are revised each day, with each case backdated to the actual date of death, so some areas might see their figures revised down.

Figures reported on a Monday are likely to be lower than as a result of a lag in reporting deaths over the weekend.

The figures also show that more than half of people in Blackburn with Darwen have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The latest figures show 71,422 people had received both jabs by July 18 (Sunday) – 57% of those aged 18 and over, based on the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service database.

Across England, 68% of people aged 18 and above had received a second dose of the jab.