The number of coronavirus patients in Hertfordshire hospital beds continued to fall last week.

Deaths also fell by more than 50 per cent – but the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation and intensive care went up.

NHS data showed that on February 23, there were 240 COVID-19 patients across four Herts hospital trusts.

They were the East and North Herts Trust, the West Herts Trust, the Herts Partnership Trust and the Herts Community Trust.

A week earlier, on February 16, there had been 278 coronavirus cases – meaning the number fell by almost 14 per cent in seven days.

At the peak of the second wave, in early January, COVID-19 cases had accounted for more than 600 beds.

The number has fallen, week-on-week, every week since January 12.

Deaths have also continued to fall. In the week to February 23, 30 lives were lost to coronavirus, compared to 67 in the previous week and 92 the week before that.

But demand for serious hospital treatment remains high.

The number of coronavirus patients who had to be hooked up to mechanical ventilation was at its highest in mid and late January, peaking at 49.

By mid-February it had dropped to roughly half of that figure, but then it stopped decreasing.

On February 16, there were 24 COVID-19 patients being ventilated.

A week later, despite overall hospital cases falling, the number of patients on ventilation rose to 25.

The number of patients in intensive care – also known as adult critical care – also peaked in late January, hitting 64 on the last day of the month.

By February 14, it was down to 41. But by February 21, it was up again to 46.

However, overall hospital cases should continue to fall as the county’s infection rate has continued to drop steadily.

On February 23, there were 821 confirmed cases – or 69 cases per 100,000 people.

That was down 31.7 per cent on a week earlier.

In St Albans it was falling even faster, down 36.8 per cent, week-on-week, to 56.6 cases per 100,000.

Welwyn Hatfield’s rate was falling faster still, down 39.1 per cent in a week, to 83.7 cases per 100,000.

In Stevenage, there were 107 cases per 100,000 people, despite a week-on-week reduction of 29.3 per cent.