Watford General Hospital continues to look after huge numbers of Covid patients, latest figures from the NHS show.

NHS figures released today reveal West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust was caring for 330 Covid patients, as of 8am on Tuesday (January 5).

This is up from 227 on Christmas Day and more than double the number of Covid patients the trust was looking after at any one time during the spring.

The data shows there have been 270 Covid admissions and diagnoses at the trust since Christmas Day, including 24 from care homes. Figures show out of the 270 patients above, 230 were new admissions from outside the hospital.

More admissions are very likely with the number of over 60s catching Covid quadrupling through December, according to figures published by Hertfordshire County Council.

While more Covid patients now survive thanks to new treatments, and analysis of NHS figures shows several patients at Watford General have been discharged in recent weeks, a further seven deaths were reported today at the trust of patients who had tested positive for Covid within the last 28 days – there have been 496 deaths in total.

Further NHS figures show just how busy West Hertfordshire NHS Trust is, with just nine adult general or acute beds at the trust unoccupied as of January 5, with 265 of those types of bed taken up by non-Covid patients.

As mayor of London Sadiq Khan declares a major incident at the capital’s hospitals, the Observer understands the situation in west Hertfordshire is also really serious, with residents being urged to bring levels of the virus down locally.

Watford Borough Council tweeted today: "Our close neighbours London have declared a state of emergency as the Covid-19 surge threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

"It's more important than ever that Watford plays its part in reducing the spread by staying at home as much as possible.

"Protect the NHS, Save Lives."

The town’s mayor Peter Taylor urged residents to "behave responsibly" after Watford’s weekly infection rate recently passed 1,000 cases per 100,000 population.

Read more: Watford mayor urges people to 'behave responsibly'

Hertfordshire’s public health director is also worried about a spike in new cases over the coming days after gatherings and parties over New Year.

Read more: Herts gatherings over Christmas and New Year 'will cause spike in Covid cases'

Via Hertfordshire County Council’s social media channels, public health chief Jim McManus said: "Some people are behaving as if all is fine because the vaccine is here.

"That’s completely counter-productive. The longer some don’t follow the guidance, the more the virus will circulate, the more we will be in lockdown, the more NHS staff will be diverted from vaccination to care and the more risk there’ll be of virus variants that resist the vaccine."

There was some positive news with West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust announcing on its social media channels yesterday more than 1,000 of its staff have received a Covid vaccination since Monday.

There are also several hubs around Watford, as well as in Borehamwood and St Albans, being run by GP’s administering vaccines to those on the government’s priority list who have received an invitation to have one.