THE number of recorded coronavirus cases in St Helens has increased by two, the latest official figures show.

Public Health England data shows that since the start of the outbreak in March, 1,192 people have been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19 in St Helens.

The figures run up to 9am on Monday (July 6) and show that cases are up from 1,190 on the same time on Sunday.

St Helens' two latest cases were among 68 new cases recorded across the North West over the period.

Stable picture

As lockdown restrictions continue to be eased, figures released last week, showing the rate of new COVID-19 weekly cases in each local authority revealed a stable picture in St Helens.

The data, released by Press Association through Public Health England, show the rate of new cases in each area, based on tests that have been carried out both in laboratories of the Government's testing programme and in the wider community.

This data revealed the number of cases per 100,000 population, for the week ending Sunday, June 28.

The rate in St Helens was stable, remaining at 6.7 per 100,000 residents for a consecutive week.

This was far lower than an area such as Leicester (141.3), which has gone into a local lockdown and areas of Greater Manchester such as Rochdale (35.0) and Oldham (30.1).

Last week St Helens Borough Council, like other local authorities across the country, produced an outbreak management plan which sets out the measures that will be taken if the town sees a spike in cases.

READ> Coronavirus outbreak management plan published by St Helens Council

With lockdown restrictions having eased again last week, leading to venues such as pubs and hairdressers reopening on Saturday, people are being reminded to maintain social distancing and to regularly wash their hands.

Cumulative rate and addition of 'hidden data'

Where St Helens does have a high rate, is for the cumulative amount of cases, which measures the total number of diagnosed infections since the start of the outbreak in March.

Public Health England is now including Pillar 2 tests – those carried out by commercial partners – alongside Pillar 1 tests, which are analysed in NHS or PHE laboratories and which made up the first stage of the Government's mass testing programme.

The addition of this "hidden data" led to more than 400 additional cases – which have been diagnosed over the course of the pandemic in St Helens – being added to the official figures last week.

The increases were mirrored in other areas around the country, as the previously unreported data was released.

The addition of these cases means the cumulative rate of infection now stands at 662 cases per 100,000 people, significantly higher than the England average of 439.

Cumulative case counts include patients who are currently unwell, have recovered and those that have died.

Across the UK, the number of new recorded cases increased by 352 over the period, to 285,768.