Dozens of further cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus have been recorded in Herefordshire, new figures reveal.
With cases of the now dominant Delta strain, first identified in India, rising rapidly across England, vaccinations have opened up to all adults in the country in an effort to limit its spread.
Public Health England figures show 79 cases of the Delta variant had been recorded in Herefordshire by June 16.
That was 41 more than the 38 cases recorded the week before.
Those identified in the latest week were among at least 5,109 cases of the variant recorded across the West Midlands – the fifth-worst affected of England’s nine regions.
The North West continued to have the highest numbers identified, with 29,301 Delta variant cases recorded there.
Separate data shows that while the Delta variant carries a higher risk of hospitalisation than the Alpha – formerly known as the Kent – variant, analysis shows that two doses of a coronavirus jab offer around 90% protection against hospitalisation.
A PHE report shows 806 people had been hospitalised with the Delta variant by June 14 – an increase of 423 compared to the previous week.
Of them, 527 were unvaccinated, and only 84 had received both vaccine doses.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “It is encouraging to see that hospitalisations and deaths are not rising at the same rate but we will continue to monitor it closely.
“The vaccination programme and the care that we are all taking to follow the guidance are continuing to save lives.
“Please make sure that you come forward to receive both doses of the vaccine as soon as you are eligible.
“Don’t drop your guard – practise ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times.”
The data shows that 75,953 confirmed and probable cases of the Delta variant have now been recorded in the UK – up by 33,630 (79%) on the previous week.
Of those, 70,856 were detected in England, 4,659 in Scotland, 254 in Northern Ireland and 184 in Wales.
The most recent data shows 99% of coronavirus cases across the country are the Delta variant.
Separate data from PHE showed 7,351 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Monday (June 21) in Herefordshire, up from 7,320 the same time on Friday.
Cases identified through a positive lateral flow test – those which can deliver results within half an hour – will no longer be counted if the person then takes a PCR test, which is sent to a lab to be checked, and receives a negative result within three days.
Cumulative case counts include patients who are currently unwell, have recovered and those that have died.