A hospital trust recorded dozens of new coronavirus deaths in the space of just four days, figures show.

NHS England data shows West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust recorded 53 further deaths of Covid-19 patients between January 7 and January 10.

Most of these came from the weekend, with 18 being reported on Saturday (January 8) and 19 on Sunday (January 9).

A total of 68 deaths have so far been reported in January by the trust, which runs the under pressure Watford General Hospital.

Watford Observer: Watford General Hospital is looking after more than 300 Covid patients. Credit: Holly Cant/PAWatford General Hospital is looking after more than 300 Covid patients. Credit: Holly Cant/PA

The trust has recorded 542 deaths of Covid patients since the pandemic began, one of the highest totals across trusts in the East of England.

Government data also shows it is caring for hundreds of Covid-19 patients, with a total of 330 occupying beds as of 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.

In a statement issued on New Year’s Eve, chief nurse at the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust Tracey Carter said: “Sadly we are seeing too many people coming into hospital with Covid-19, more now than in the Spring. Please don’t let you or your friends and family be one of them.

“Staff are already working flat out to look after patients and keep services running - but we can’t do this by ourselves. We need everyone in Hertfordshire to do their bit and do the right thing by staying at home wherever possible. If you do go out, wash your hands, keep your distance, cover your face, and spend as little time as possible out of your home.”

NHS England confirmed today (Monday) that a further 489 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died.

It brings the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 56,069.

Patients were aged between 26 and 103 years old.

All except 33 (aged 26 to 97 years old) had known underlying health conditions.