The amount of people testing positive for coronavirus in Thurrock is lower than most other authorities across the country but new data is indicating cases could be on the rise again.

Health bosses have revealed that Thurrock’s infection rate ranks the borough at 135 of 198 authorities and the “threat level” stands at zero.

However, this could be on its way to changing as the number of positive tests have begun to grow over the past week.

Ian Wake, the council’s director of public health, told the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee that while numbers are low the number of people testing positive has increased in the last seven days.

He said: “There is a little bit of evidence that the number of positive tests and the percentage of those who test positive has increased over the last seven days.

“The percentage testing positive has peaked at just under 5 per cent albeit we still have low numbers.”

He further explained that since the end of June the three-day average for the number of positive tests had been within a window of between nought and two but the latest data show it is going above that for the first time in two months.

Mr Wake called it “concerning” and said it is something that the council need to “watch very, very carefully”.

If it continues to rise the council’s “threat level” which sits at zero could also be increased to one.

Mr Wake further highlighted that the average age of those with the virus is decreasing from 63 in March to 30 in August.

He said: “That could be one of two things, it could be who are testing. Back in March testing wasn’t generally available to everybody, it was generally only those in the hospital and older people are much more likely to be admitted if they become infected, or it could mean a genuine increase in transmission in younger age groups.”

In light of schools returning Mr Wake offered reassurance to parents, explaining that children appear to be much less likely to get the virus and “if they do become infected there are unlikely to be serious consequences”.

However a rise in cases in Essex has prompted a safety warning from health bosses.

Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health is reminding residents to following social distancing rules and urging those with symptoms to self isolate and book a test.