Police are warning a particularly dangerous batch of heroin might be in circulation after two men died in County Durham in a week.
A 40-year-old man was found dead at a property in Ushaw Moor on 12 January, while a 31-year-old man was found dead at a house in Bearpark on 16 January.
Durham Police say they are unable to confirm at the moment whether the incidents are linked.Copyright: BBC
BBC reporter Zena Francis looks at what's happened in the north-east of England since the outbreak.
BBC Look North
The Ministry of Justice has extended a compensation scheme for former inmates who were physically abused at Medomsley detention centre, in County Durham.
The centre, which closed in 1988, held offenders aged between 17 and 21 who had committed relatively minor crimes.
Durham Police has received almost 1,900 complaints from men who have said they were beaten, punched or kicked at the centre.Copyright: BBC
Previously compensation had only been paid when officers were convicted of committing a crime, but that's changed and now former inmates can make a claim against officers even if they haven't been convicted.
The amount varies from £1,750 to £5,000 depending on the length of time they served and the extent of their injuries.
No date has yet been set for when the compensation scheme will end.
Claims for those who were sexually abused are being handled separately.
Hartlepool Council is asking people to avoid Seaton Carew promenade if it's busy and try a local park for exercise instead.
The authority is concerned about large numbers of people walking, running and cycling along coast, especially at weekends.
Sarah Scarr, the Council’s Heritage and Countryside Manager, said: “The town’s parks are a fantastic resource and have an important role to play in helping people to stay fit and healthy during the pandemic.
“They should not enter a play area if they are unable to stay two metres apart from others and they should use all parts of a park or open space to ensure that a safe distance can be maintained from others.”Copyright: Google
The medical director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has warned it's too soon to say if the current lockdown is bringing down the rate of coronavirus infections.
Dr Deepak Dwarakanath says figures don't suggest a turning point has been reached yet.
"We're averaging about 30 new patients coming into the hospital with Covid every day," he said.
"We are sadly seeing about six people a day die of Covid and this is a deeply distressing time for the families and our staff.
"This is a very sad situation."Copyright: North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust
Dr Dwarakanath is urging people to adhere to the lockdown rules and stay at home.
"The number of admissions going up each day means that we've topped the 200 mark once again. This is a massive strain on our hospital or any other hospital in the country.
"This disease can not be trivialised, the types of patients we're seeing being admitted now are quite different to those in the first wave.
"Talking to our senior respiratory physicians, we're seeing 30 and 40-year-olds being admitted with serious illness requiring oxygen and a lot of them needing intensive care therapy."Copyright: BBC
There's a warning heavy snow and icy conditions could cause disruption in parts of the North East.
The Met Office issued the amber warning for snow in Newcastle, Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland from 15:00 today until 10:00 tomorrow.Copyright: Met Office
It predicts up to 10cm to 20cm of snowfall across parts of northern England, and Scotland.
Travel delays on roads and some delays and cancellations to rail and air travel are likely.
Covid patient numbers at the University Hospital of North Durham are exceeding the first peak of the pandemic, its medical director says
Jeremy Cundall (pictured), from the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We're running at just about 200 cases in the trust compared to the peak of wave one which was 150.
"We do have a lot of Covid wards open across the organisation but as you'd expect we've had 200 patients, so that works out at eight to nine ward occupants."Copyright: County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
The situation means additional stress on other hospital departments, with the trust having to stand down some elective surgeries, so nursing staff can be released to other areas, although cancer treatments are continuing.
Mr Cundall is urging people to follow the rules and save lives.
He said: "The people who don't believe it's serious now are never going to believe it's serious and frankly anything I say to them will go in one ear and out the other.
"From my point of view I would be appealing to the vast majority of people who do understand this is a real problem to say to them - follow the rules and that will be the way, with the vaccination, that we get out of this situation.
"And everyone else who doesn't get it, they're never going to get it."
Problems continue on the A1M in Durham because of the weather.
Heavy snow is causing issues with vehicles stuck.
Some motorists have reported delays of up to two hours northbound between junctions 60 and 61 and up to an hour southbound between junction 63 and 62.
The picture below was taken by Highways England traffic officers who warn if you have to travel please allow appropriate time for your journey and make sure you are driving to the conditions.Copyright: Highways England
Drivers are being urged to avoid the A1 around Durham as vehicles breaking down in heavy snow are causing hour-long delays.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service tweeted pictures showing the road heavily coated in snow.
Highways England said there are delays of an up to an hour southbound between junctions 63 and 62 and up to half an hour northbound between junctions 60 and 61.