THE number of coronavirus cases in Somerset West and Taunton increased by 233 in the last 24 hours, official figures show – and three more deaths were recorded.

A total of 26,334 people had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 in Somerset West and Taunton when the UK coronavirus daily dashboard was updated on January 21 (Friday), up from 26,101 on Thursday.

The rate of infection in Somerset West and Taunton now stands at 16,944 cases per 100,000 people, far lower than the England average of 23,592.

Across the UK, the number of recorded cases increased by 95,776 over the period, to 15,709,059.

People with a positive lateral flow test no longer need to take a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result unless they have coronavirus symptoms.

UK case numbers currently only include LFT results for England and Northern Ireland, with lateral flow testing data for Scotland due to be added in the coming weeks.

There were also three more coronavirus deaths recorded in the latest 24-hour period in Somerset West and Taunton.

The dashboard shows 248 people had died in the area by January 21 (Friday) – up from 245 on Thursday.

It means there have been eight deaths in the past week, which is an increase on three the previous week.

They were among 8,565 deaths recorded across the South West.

The figures include anyone who died within 28 days of a positive test result for Covid-19, and whose usual residence was in Somerset West and Taunton.

Daily death counts are revised each day, with each case backdated to the actual date of death.

The figures also show that more than four in five people in Somerset West and Taunton have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The latest figures show 121,635 people had received both jabs by January 20 (Thursday) – 83% of those aged 12 and over, based on the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service database.

Across England, 83% of people aged 12 and above had received a second dose of the jab.

Unlike at local level, the national rate was calculated using mid-2020 population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.