A letter claiming there is a spike in coronavirus cases in Worcester is a "leaked, unofficial email," say Worcestershire County Council.

The authority says the letter - which has been circulating on social media - "does not accurately reflect the current situation" and stressed there is no cause for alarm in Worcester.

A picture of the letter, that is entitled "Covid R rate up in Worcester City", has been widely shared on Facebook with readers telling us they had seen it and had concerns.

The notice says: "There have been six new confirmed cases of Covid in Worcester in the past 24 hours.

"In the West Midlands overall the R rate is somewhere between 0.7 and 1.1 but only four areas are flagging higher than this - Worcester city being one of them".

The reproduction number (R) is the average number of people one infected person passes the virus onto and is used by the government to measure how quickly or slowly a disease is spreading.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, director of public health for Worcestershire: “We are aware of a leaked, unofficial email from an NHS Clinical Director in Worcestershire, which is being shared on social media.

"The email does not accurately reflect the current situation in Worcestershire.

"We carefully monitor cases through the health system, watching closely for any minor changes across a number of indicators. A single indicator changing does not represent a worsening situation. There is no cause for alarm, or any changes to the social distancing advice in Worcester.

"We would always alert residents of a situation if it requires action. Currently the R rate across England remains stable at 0.7- 0.9.

"However Covid-19 has not gone away and it remains important that we socially distance and practice good hand hygiene.”

The NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) described the letter as not a "formal release" from them or from Dr Nikki Burger, the doctor named in the notice. The letter is dated Thursday, June 18.

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A spokesman for South Worcestershire CCG said it could confirm "this is not a formal release from either the CCG or Dr Nikki Burger".

Government figures show, as of June 19, the R rate in the Midlands is at 0.8-1.0 which is the worst of all NHS England regions.

We asked Worcestershire County Council if they could provide an R rate for Worcester but their statement did not include a response.