At least 200 teenagers are known to have to attended house parties recently in Hertsmere, the county council has said.

Hertfordshire County Council, which is currently dealing with a “significant” COVID-19 outbreak in Hertsmere, says through contact tracing, it knows more than 200 young people have said they have attended house parties with or without parental permission.

The rise in cases in Hertsmere – at least 60 over the last week – has been blamed by the council on a number of large parties and gatherings involving teenagers in private homes in the Borehamwood area at the end of August.

And the council says data is showing that the virus has now spread from teens to adult members of their family, with many cases of people living in Bushey Heath, Borehamwood, and Radlett.

What is also concerning public health officials is these cases equate to one of the highest weekly rates of COVID-19 in the whole of England.

Executive member for public health in Hertfordshire, Tim Hutchings, warned people in Hertsmere that the parties, which have mostly involved the Jewish community, “must stop” and threatened to fine organisers or parents allowing parties to be hosted in their homes up to £10,000.

Penalties can also be issued to people just attending illegal gatherings.

Read more about the national restrictions on meeting indoors here

Cllr Hutchings said: “We can confirm there are a significant number of positive COVID-19 cases in Hertsmere – with a specific rise of cases in Borehamwood.

“Existing self-isolation and social distancing measures have not been effectively implemented to contain this local outbreak among the original group of young people (16 to 19-year-olds) in a number of large social gatherings in private homes in the last week of August. In these cases, transmission did not occur in a school setting but through a number of friendship groups within the wider local Hertsmere community and in North West London."

Borehamwood Times:

Credit: PA

Cllr Hutchings continued: “We now need all residents in Hertsmere to pay really close attention to this serious issue of the spread of COVID-19, as well as working with community leaders, to remind them of the importance of following the government’s guidance to minimise the risks of the spread of COVID-19. If we do not get a grip on this local outbreak, then the risk is that schools may need to close.

“We have written again today to parents and carers of children at schools where fellow pupils are now playing their part by self-isolating, with a stern warning: stop these house parties and private events or face enforcement action of up to a £10,000 fine.”

Parents were written to yesterday by the director of Public Health in Hertfordshire, Jim McManus.

No lockdown restrictions have been implemented yet in Hertsmere – but residents are being asked to follow strict rules and guidelines to limit the spread further.

Read more: What Hertsmere residents are being asked to do to avoid possible 'local lockdown'

Cllr Bright has urged residents to follow the rules because he does not want to see any more deaths or suffering for families.

In April, Hertsmere had the highest COVID-19 death rate in the whole of England with 181 deaths reported in total by the ONS as of end of August.

The county council says no deaths have been linked to this latest outbreak of cases in Hertsmere, and that across the county, as of Tuesday lunchtime, COVID acute hospital admissions remain in single figures.

But the council warns it would not likely see a rise in hospital admissions arising from this outbreak until later this week, as it normally takes around two weeks for a COVID-19 patient to be hospitalised.

But the council has said the Hertfordshire’s childrens’ emergency departments however have reported an increase in children being taken in with fever and other COVID-19 symptoms. NHS 111 calls have also increased.