THE number of people being cared for with coronavirus in East Lancashire's hospitals has shot up.

Doctors and nurses working within the likes of the Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General are now treating 96 patients with Covid-19 - up from 39 last week.

The number of beds at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust occupied by people who tested positive for Covid-19 quadrupled in the last four weeks – 28 days ago, there were 24.

On Thursday, a whopping 687 new virus cases were recorded in Blackburn with Darwen, meaning more than 40,000 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Yesterday the Lancashire Telegraph reported how the east of the county had recorded a 91 per cent surge in Coronavirus infection rate.

The latest figures for Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Rossendale and Pendle showed 5,622 positive cases between the towns in the week leading up to Christmas Day.

In the following week leading up to New Year's Day, those towns combined had 10,766 cases - a 91 per cent increase.

The figures, for the seven days to January 1, are based on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in a lab-reported test, plus positive rapid lateral flow tests that do not have a negative confirmatory lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours.

Across England there were 15,044 people in hospital with Covid as of January 4, with 797 of them in mechanical ventilation beds.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised nationally has more than doubled in the last four weeks, while the number on mechanical ventilators has increased by 1%.

The figures also show that 87 new Covid patients were admitted to hospital in East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in the week to January 2. This was up from 46 in the previous seven days.