Essex’s Director of Public Health, Dr Mike Gujarati, has expressed concern about the rise in coronavirus cases in both Epping Forest and Brentwood.

Over the past two weeks, confirmed cases of coronavirus in Epping Forest and Brentwood have skyrocketed to the highest level in Essex.

Brentwood now has a rate of 40 cases per 100,000 and Epping Forest at 36.

The percentage of positive tests in those areas is back to four percent.

Dr. Mike Gujarty said: “I am very concerned about Epping Forest and Brentwood.

“Cases continue to rise across the county, but these two regions in particular now have the highest rate of cases per 100,000 in Essex.

“We cannot attribute these cases to a specific event, region or outbreak which makes me more anxious.

“Cases appear to be random in both regions, making it difficult to contain and prevent their spread.

“Although on the surface some may not think these numbers are high enough to warrant concern, the numbers have to be looked at in terms of infection rate as well. If each case affects one or two other people, this will escalate very quickly.

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“To prevent the spread of disease and the need for further measures, it is important in people who can work from home to do so and to advise employers why this is important.

“Where people need to be on the go especially using public transportation, you are asked to download and use the Covid app.

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“This will allow your identity to be identified if you are in contact with a case so that you can avoid contact with others at high risk.

Please wear masks where possible, wash your hands regularly, and especially keep two meters away from others.

“If you have symptoms, you should isolate yourself and book a test as soon as possible.

“We are now working with the NHS to facilitate additional testing resources in these areas.”

John Spence, the advisor in charge of adult health and welfare, said: “We knew that coronavirus cases were going to rise across the county.

“However, even as this happens, our cases are at or below the national average and this is where we want to stay.

Better yet, let’s buck the trend and start pushing the numbers down.

It will only happen if each of us sticks to the core messages – keep distance, if you can’t, wear a face mask.

“Continue to wash those hands and isolate yourself when asked or if you have symptoms.”