FOUR deaths of patients who tested positive for coronavirus have been recorded at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in the latest 24-hour period, the latest official figures show.

NHS England figures show there have been 18 coronavirus-related deaths in the past week at the trust covering Whiston, St Helens and Newton hospitals, up from 14 the previous week.

Since the start of the pandemic 329 coronavirus patients had died in hospital at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust as of 5pm on Tuesday (November 17).

Daily death counts are revised each day, with each case backdated to the actual date of death.

This means some of the deaths that were first recorded in the latest period may actually have taken place days earlier.

NHS England guidance states: "Confirmation of Covid-19 diagnosis, death notification and reporting in central figures can take up to several days and the hospitals providing the data are under significant operational pressure."

Only deaths that occur in hospitals where the patient has tested positive for Covid-19 are recorded, with deaths in the community excluded, such as those in care homes.

The overall infection rate in St Helens is falling amid the tighter restrictions, although the pace of the decrease is still considered to be slow.

Figures released yesterday show cases had increased by 69 over 24 hours.

Public Health England figures show that since the start of the outbreak in mid-March 7,094 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Tuesday (November 17) in St Helens, up from 7,025 the same time on Monday.