Covid-19 case rates across the North East have fallen from since the beginning of November, but some areas have seen skyrocketing rates and a sobering reminder that the pandemic is not over.

With the new Omicron variant of the virus a source of uncertainty, mask-wearing restrictions back in force for shops and public transport and an acceleration of the vaccine booster programme, the past week has seen Covid continue to affect our everyday lives.

The worst hit areas in our region range from Whitley Bay and Cramlington to Blaydon and County Durham.

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On the other hand, the rate of Covid cases in some pockets of the North East - like the Cowpen area of Blyth and Shieldfield and Heaton Park in Newcastle - has fallen dramatically and is now less than 100 per 100,000 people.

Across the region, the weekly rate is now 365.5 cases per 100,000 people, that's down from 504.7 on October 27.

The last few weeks have also seen the number of Covid patients in our hospitals fall too. In Newcastle there were just 35 Covid patients at the Freeman or RVI on November 30, there were 83 a month earlier.

The same story can be seen at the Queen Elizabeth in Gateshead (30 patients), at Northumbria Healthcare (34). There were 77 at South Tyneside and Sunderland's hospital sand 56 at County Durham and Darlington's.

The ten areas with the highest Covid rates in the week to November 27 were:

Blaydon North & Winlaton Mill, Gateshead - 871 per 100,000, with 58 new cases

Columbia, Barmston & Teal Farm, Sunderland - 807.9 per 100,000, with 66 new cases

Whitley Bay North, North Tyneside - 807.4 per 100,000, with 49 new cases

South Gosforth, Newcastle - 722.3 per 100,000, with 69 new cases

Esh Winning and Ushaw Moor, County Durham - 720.7 per 100,000, with 46 new cases

Whitley Sands, North Tyneside - 712.2 per 100,000, with 43 new cases

West Monkseaton, North Tyneside - 700.7 per 100,000, with 41 new cases

Scotswood, Newcastle - 696 per 100,000, with 37 new cases

North Cramlington, Northumberland - 680.8 per 100,000, with 35 new cases

Stocksfield, Riding Mill & Corbridge, Northumberland - 666.7 per 100,000, with 61 new cases

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