COVID cases are very much on the retreat in Ledbury and surrounding areas, according to latest Government statistics.

But it's a different picture for Herefordshire on the whole, where cases are on the rise.

Figures show that, in week leading to March 16, Ledbury was officially in the ‘suppressed” category, which means that fewer than three cases of Covid had been identified.

This is believed to be the first time Ledbury has been in the suppressed category since last October.

It is a similar happy picture for surrounding areas, with the Colwall, Cradley and Wellington Heath zone also in the suppressed category, together with Fownhope, Tarrington and Much Marcle.

The neighbouring market town of Newent was also in the suppressed category.

However, the Bromyard and Bishop’s Frome area bucked the trend slightly, with three cases reported, a rise of one on the previous week.

And in Herefordshire county itself, a total of 62 cases were noted, which represent a rise of 24 on the previous week.

But the very latest statistics for the county do give some cause for concern.

The number of recorded coronavirus cases in Herefordshire increased by 16 in just 24 hours between Sunday March 21 and Monday March 20, official figures show.

Public Health England figures show that 6,804 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Sunday (March 21) in Herefordshire, up by 16 on the previous day.

Herefordshire’s cases were among the 419,119 recorded across the West Midlands, a figure which rose by 540 over the period.

WyeE Valley NHS Trust, which runs Hereford County Hospital, was caring for seven coronavirus patients in hospital as of Tuesday last week, figures show – more than the week before.

NHS England data shows the number of people being treated in hospital for Covid-19 by 8am on March 16 was up from five on the same day the previous week.

But the number of beds at Wye Valley NHS Trust occupied by people who tested positive for Covid-19 decreased by 72 per cent in the last four weeks – 28 days ago, there were 25.

Another good sign is that there were no patients on mechanical ventilators, which are used for the most seriously ill patients, on Tuesday last week.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised nationally has decreased by 67 per cent in the last four weeks, while the number on mechanical ventilators has decreased by 64 per cent.