THE number of Covid-related deaths at Herefordshire's hospitals appears to be rising, latest NHS figures show.

NHS data showed eight people died in October at the Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs Hereford County Hospital, after testing positive for Covid-19.

That was up from six in both August and September. There were no deaths reported in May or June, and just two in both July and April.

But at the start of thh year, 82 were reported in January, 34 in February and five in March.

It took the death toll at the trust, as of 4pm on November 2, to 250.

It came as the trust banned most visitors from hospitals across the county due to rising coronavirus cases in the community and on wards.

Wye Valley NHS Trust, which also runs the community hospitals in Bromyard, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye, said visitors would no longer be allowed on most wards.

With a few exceptions, the tighter visiting restrictions came into force yesterday (Wednesday) to help "protect patients by reducing the risk of someone bringing Covid onto the wards", a spokesperson said.

Chief nursing officer Lucy Flanagan said: "This has been a difficult decision to make as we know the benefits visitors can make to the recovery of our patients, but with the increased spread of the virus in the community and cases on our wards, we've decided to temporarily suspend visiting on safety grounds with a few exceptions."

Exemptions were said to include compassionate grounds, stroke patients and out-patient areas.

There would also be no changes visiting restrictions on the children's ward, special care baby unit and in maternity.

Updated figures on the amount of Covid-19 patients at the trust will be released later on Thursday, with most-recent data showing there were 26 on October 26.

That was the highest number for eight months.

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.