The number of recorded coronavirus cases in Herefordshire increased by four over the last 24 hours, official figures show.

Public Health England figures show that 978 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Wednesday (September 16) in Herefordshire, up from 974 the same time on Tuesday.

Since last Wednesday cases in the county have risen by 38 from 940.

Since the start of the outbreak, the rate of infection in Herefordshire now stands at 507 cases per 100,000 people, far lower than the England average of 580.

The graph below shows the number of cases in Herefordshire by date of test, and not the day when the cases were published by PHE. There can be a few days while waiting for tests results to be returned from laboratories.

Across the UK, the number of recorded cases increased by 3,991 over the period, to 378,219.

Herefordshire's cases were among the 35,321 recorded across the West Midlands, a figure which rose by 428 over the period.

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

It comes as Boris Johnson defends the troubled Covid-19 testing system amid mounting fears of a fresh coronavirus crisis in care homes.

The Prime Minister faced MPs as the Government was drawing up a list setting out who will be at the front of the queue for coronavirus tests after a “colossal spike” in demand.

Care home staff and residents are likely to be near the top of the list as Mr Johnson acknowledged ministers were concerned about the rate of infection.

He said a new “action plan” this week would involve tougher rules on the movement of workers between care homes.

Mr Johnson was faced by Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner at Prime Minister’s Questions, after Sir Keir Starmer was forced to wait more than 24 hours for the result of a coronavirus test on a family member.

Shortly before PMQs, Sir Keir said the test had come back negative and Mr Johnson said “I don’t know why he is not here”.

Hereford Times: Boris Johnson during Prime Minister's QuestionsBoris Johnson during Prime Minister's Questions

The Prime Minister had promised that all in-person test results would be back within 24 hours by the end of June.

Amid continuing concerns over the inability to access tests and delays in getting results, Mr Johnson said 89% of those who have in-person tests get them the next day.

“We are working very fast to turn around all the test requests that we get,” he said.

“I think most people looking at the record of this country in delivering tests across this nation will see that it actually compares extremely well with any other European country.”

He acknowledged the frustration around the demand for tests, but said capacity was being increased and said the Government wanted 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

As Mr Johnson admitted “we are concerned about the rates of infection in care homes” and promised the new action plan, Ms Rayner said he needed to “get some skates on” to address the issues.

“Those care workers are still not getting the PPE they need, they’re still not getting the testing they need,” she said.

She warned that “we are staring down the barrel of a second wave with no plan for the looming crisis”.

And she suggested Mr Johnson’s Government was focused more on the continuation of shooting than the return of family life as a result of the coronavirus restrictions.

“People can’t say goodbye to their loved ones, grandparents can’t see their grandchildren and frontline staff can’t get the tests that they need – and what was the top priority for the Covid war cabinet this weekend? Restoring grouse shooting,” she said.

One of the drivers of demand for tests has been the return of schools and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson suggested families whose children are sent home due to a positive case may not need to get tested if they have no symptoms.

“People only with symptoms are the ones that should be actually doing the testing,” he told MPs.