Health bosses say the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in Suffolk and north Essex has risen to more than 100 - with three Covid-related deaths recorded this week.

The news comes as visiting has also been suspended at Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals from New Year's Day and will continue to be suspended at West Suffolk Hospital after a rise of Covid cases in the region.

Last week there were 85 patients in hospital with Covid - 63 in East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) hospitals and 22 at West Suffolk Hospital. Now 103 people are being treated for coronavirus.

According to new data there were 82 patients in hospital with Covid at ESNEFT hospitals on Tuesday, December 28.

Of those 82 patients 10 are currently needing assistance from a mechanical ventilator to help with their breathing.

Between December 25 and December 31, there have been two recorded deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test at ESNEFT hospitals which shows a 100% increase when compared to the past week.

There are 21 patients with Covid at the West Suffolk Hospital. Three of those patients at the Bury St Edmunds hospital are currently needing a mechanical ventilator to assist with breathing.

There has been one recorded death at West Suffolk Hospital between December 25 and December 31.

Although the number of people in hospital across the county has risen a chief medical officer has described the number of Covid-related admissions to Suffolk hospitals as "stable".

Dr Angela Tillett, chief medical officer at ESNEFT, said: "The number of people with Covid-19 admitted to our hospitals is stable this week, however we are expecting to see an increase as infection rates rise in the community.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dr Angela Tillett, medical director at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals Picture: ESNEFTDr Angela Tillett, medical director at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals Picture: ESNEFT (Image: Archant)

“We are focused on providing safe and effective care for all our patients, with and without Covid-19.

“We are asking for our communities help to protect the NHS, as well as everyone in our hospitals – patients, visitors and staff – by using lateral flow tests before meeting people and self-isolating if the result is positive, getting your Covid-19 vaccinations, wearing a face mask when required and in crowded areas, and opening windows to let fresh air in when seeing friends and family indoors.”