FOUR more patients have now died at the Royal Bolton Hospital after contracting coronavirus.

Two deaths on Thursday, and two deaths from Wednesday have been linked to covid-19.

Figures released by NHS England show that 419 people have now died at the borough's hospital after being treated for the virus.

Over the last week, 21 patients at the hospital had their deaths linked to coronavirus – down from 23 the week before.

Across the North West, 8,680 patients have died with covid-19, making it the second hardest-hit of England's seven NHS regions, after the midlands.

Bolton's latest seven-day rolling rate of infections revealed that the area was no longer one of the 100 most infectious areas in England.

The borough, which topped the rate table back in September when more than 200 cases were seen for every 100,000 people, is now the 109th most infectious part of the country.

In the seven days to December 6, 477 new cases of covid-19 were confirmed – a rate of 165.9.

Bolton Council’s director of public health, Dr Helen Lowey, urged people to continue following the rules to protect their family and friends over the festive period.

She said: “We have seen an improvement in the local infection rate, but the rate of reduction is slowing down and we are not out of the woods yet.

“Winter will be a really crucial phase in our response to the virus, so it is essential that everyone continues to follow social distancing rules, washing hands regularly and using face covering where needed.

“We can protect our family and friends by keeping contact to a minimum over the festive period.”