Three people have died in 10 days in Merseyside hospitals in tragedies that could be among the first deaths linked to the recent surge of coronavirus cases in the region.
NHS England confirmed two people had died at trusts on Wirral and one in Liverpool, taking Merseyside's hospital death toll to 1,120.
A further 140 deaths linked to the illness have been registered at hospitals in Warrington and Halton.
Those figures refer to people who died and had "either tested positive for Covid-19 or where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate".
The most recent announcement, released on Friday, revealed one person had died on September 9 at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Royal, Aintree and Broadgreen hospitals.
Two further deaths took place at complexes run by Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, on September 13 and 16.
They were the first deaths linked to the condition at Merseyside hospitals to be confirmed in public NHS figures since September 3.
With coronavirus cases having surged across the region in recent weeks – and Liverpool and Wirral hit particularly hard – this means those who died may have contracted the condition during the spike in infections.
So far in September, Liverpool has seen a rise of 1,069 confirmed Covid-19 cases and Wirral an increase of 683.
Those numbers, along with worrying infection rates in Knowsley and rising cases in Sefton and St Helens, formed the backdrop for the heightened social restrictions for Merseyside announced by the Government on Friday and set to come into effect on Tuesday.
The NHS figures only refer to hospital deaths, so the true number of deaths linked to coronavirus on Merseyside will be far higher once tragedies in other settings, including care homes, are taken into account.
Hospital deaths linked to Covid-19 often take days to be confirmed publicly, so more may have died in local trust facilities over recent days.
The total coronavirus-linked deaths attributed to each NHS trust in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are:
- Alder Hey: 4
- Liverpool Heart and Chest: 19
- Liverpool University Hospitals: 483
- Mersey Care: 3
- Southport and Ormskirk: 151
- St Helens and Knowsley: 209
- The Walton Centre: 10
- Warrington and Halton: 140
- Wirral University: 241