Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said it was “far from the truth” that hospitals admissions were low despite soaring infection rates in the county.
He cautioned that the county could be weeks away from a full lockdown if communities do not take notice of additional restrictions which include mixing with other households in homes and gardens.
More than 110 people are in Lancashire’s hospitals with coronavirus.
Burnley, Pendle and Hyndburn were all in the top 10 highest affected boroughs in England, according to Monday’s published figures of seven-day infection rates
Dr Karunanithi said: “There are rumours that people aren’t getting ill, that hospital admissions are low. From someone who has been working on this from the beginning and speaks to frontline workers in our NHS every day, this is far from the truth.
“We are starting to see hospitalisations rise and, unfortunately with this, excess deaths will be inevitable, especially as we enter the difficult winter period.
“We’ve done one lockdown and I’m sure we took many positive experiences from that – spending more time outdoors appreciating nature, quality time with our loved ones and taking the time to slow down. But if we’re being honest, none of us want to go through that again, but what we are facing is a very real prospect of this.
“The restrictions in place now may seem draconian but they are far from a true lockdown scenario. We’re simply asking people to avoid mixing beyond their own households and be responsible. If we all take small steps to achieve that, we will get the numbers down in time.”
Professor Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Despite some of the longest-running special control measures in place across parts of Lancashire, confirmed cases continue to rise.
“These rising rates risk not only increased hospitalisations and deaths but also our continued economic and social wellbeing.
“If the rates continue on their current trajectory we will have to take further control measures to ensure that enough of the workforce is able to be at work in key infrastructure services such as social care, the NHS, police and essential food production and distribution services.
“This week marks a critical point in the rising second wave. We need to stick closely to the control measures we currently have in place if we are to avoid the necessity of further measures.”