New data released by the Office for National Statistics has revealed the wards which have experienced the most coronavirus deaths over the whole pandemic.

Friday's data is the most in-depth information released so far to see how many people living in our communities have died from the virus.

April was by far the worst period months for deaths, both locally and in the UK.

A total of 174 people living in Hertsmere have died of confirmed or suspected coronavirus, according to the ONS figures.

This includes people living in Borehamwood, Bushey, Potters Bar, and the borough's villages.

The data shows there have been 51 coronavirus deaths up until the end of May in Borehamwood.

Almost half of these (24) happened in Cowley Hill ward.

Twelve deaths have been recorded in Kenilworth with eight in each of Hillside and Brookmeadow.

Across Elstree, Radlett, Aldenham, Letchmore Heath, Shenley, and South Mimms, the data shows there have been 34 deaths.

Potters Bar Parkfield and Bushey Heath have also experienced a high number of deaths.

Where death tallies are high, this is most likely due to care home outbreaks.

Hertfordshire County Council confirmed at the end of May that 15 out of 17 of Hertsmere's care homes had reported at least one person with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 symptoms since March.

Hertsmere has been the worst hit area in Hertfordshire for coronavirus deaths and at one stage had the highest coronavirus death rate in the whole of the UK.

It now has the second highest - 161.6 over the whole pandemic, with Middlesbrough ranking the worst with a rate of 169.2.

Last month, Hertsmere Borough Council leader Morris Bright said it was "heartbreaking" to see how Hertsmere has suffered during the pandemic.

He pointed towards the borough's diverse population (second most in Hertfordshire) and its proximity to London as to why the borough had experienced a high number of deaths.

His opposite number, Hertsmere Labour leader Cllr Jeremy Newmark, has said deprivation may be why Hertsmere has suffered.

He said last month: "Cowley Hill Ward contains areas that are in the top ten on the national indices of multiple deprivation. That is why we have consistently called for better investment in this area.

"These figures are chillingly consistent with the ONS data which shows how people in the poorest parts of the country are dying at double the rate of those in richest areas.

"That is exactly what we are seeing here in Hertsmere."

Hertsmere experienced a coronavirus peak in mid-April, and now in June, deaths are completely down and so are the number of cases.

But leader Cllr Bright is urging people to look out for one another as shops reopen and the streets get busier.

He said: "The reopening of non-essential shops is a welcome step towards normality for our residents and businesses and brings some vibrancy back to our town centres.

"However we have to bear in mind that Hertsmere was among the hardest hit areas in the country during this pandemic at its peak, so we must be cautious and continue to look out for each other.

"We can all play our part in helping local businesses and our communities get back on their feet safely by following government guidance; remain two metres from others not in your household; wash hands regularly; avoid joining long queues and try to walk and cycle as much as possible.

"Thank you to everyone for your patience and co-operation so far and my deepest condolences to all those affected by this terrible virus."