A PORTER at a Teesside hospital has died after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Mark Lowe, who was a porter with the radiology team at James Cook University Hospital, died on Thursday.

Mr Lowe had worked with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for more than 20 years and has been described by colleagues as "kind and brilliant".

Sue Page, chief executive of the trust, said: “We are heartbroken at the loss of a member of our South Tees’ family.

“Mark had worked for the trust for 20 years and was a kind and brilliant colleague who will be missed by everyone.

“Our heartfelt condolences are with Mark’s partner Amanda and their family at this incredibly sad and difficult time.

“We have been in contact with Amanda to pass on our condolences and offer all our support.

“We ask that you please respect their privacy during this time.”

Middesbrough MP Andy McDonald said: “This is dreadful news.

“Mark, a hospital porter, was someone we all look to for comfort and reassurance as we face our own health challenges, and he had 20 years of dedicated service in our NHS.

“James Cook Hospital has been magnificent in dealing with this crisis and up to now we’ve been so fortunate not to lose a member of staff. 

"With the statistics starting to go in the right direction, this is a massive blow, but most of all it is a devastating tragedy for Mark’s family, friends and colleagues.

“My sincere condolences go to all of them. This is of course a time to mourn at the loss of such a precious key NHS worker but it now falls to all of us to double our resolve to do everything we can to avoid the further spread of the disease and avoid further deaths.

"We do that by sticking to the rules and the guidance. This is truly heart-breaking.”