A SURGERY has announced the death of a patient due to the coronavirus - the first known death in North Essex.

A Facebook post from the Mersea Island Medical Practice said that a patient had died from the virus.

No details about their age or gender were revealed and the post was quickly deleted after being widely shared.

The death is understood to be the third death in the county.

The post said: “It is with deep regret and sadness that we are now in a position to announce the first death on Mersea Island due [to] Covid19.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the patient.

“We have permission from the family of the patient to share this information with you.

“It is not our aim to invoke fear.

“Our aim is to convey to you the seriousness of the current situation and the absolute importance of following social distancing and isolation measures as recommended by the government.

“Stay home.

“The health and safety of everyone in our community is in your hands.”

The surgery declined to comment on the post when contacted by the Gazette but did not issue any denial in the aftermath.

A later post said that the original message had been taken down due to sparking a number of calls to the surgery which meant staff became very overwhelmed.

Neither the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group nor Public Health England were able to confirm the details surrounding the announcement.

There are now 71 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Essex, health bosses have confirmed.

The latest figures show a jump of ten from Saturday evening, when the Department of Health confirmed that the total stood at 61.

There were ten in Thurrock, eight in Southend and 53 elsewhere in the county.

NHS England said the death toll in England now stood at 335.

A spokesman said: “Patients were aged between 47 and 105 years old and all had underlying health conditions. Their families have been informed.”