Health leaders have joined together to urge the public to do their bit after a third wave of infections brought a challenge "on a scale that we haven’t seen before".

The first week in January was Cumbria’s worst week for new Covid-19 infections with 3,499 across the county, which has brought extraordinary pressure on health and care services that has never been experienced before.

As well as a tripling of people needing hospital treatment for coronavirus in the last three weeks, the very high level of infection in the community is also having an impact on staffing in all sectors due to the number needing to self-isolate.

In Cumbria, health and care leaders from North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Cumbria County Council, North West Ambulance Service, NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, and Primary Care colleagues are meeting daily to monitor the impact on different sectors, respond to the demand for services and prioritise care for the most the vulnerable people in our communities.

They are urging people to follow the guidelines, stay at home and reduce the pressure where possible.

“This third wave has brought a challenge on a scale that we haven’t seen before," explained Lyn Simpson, Chief Executive of North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.

"Partners across the system have responded together, every day for a prolonged period of time to put our communities first and the response from everyone has been phenomenal.”

Roger Jones, Head of Service at NWAS said, “Last week we saw a 20 per cent increase in calls volume with an increase in attendances to hospitals.

"We are working with colleagues to minimise the number of people that need to be admitted to hospital and ensuring that when they are, our crews can be released from hospital as soon as possible so that we can respond to more calls.”