COVID-19 infection rates continued to rise across Dorset over the past week.
According to the lates figures released on November 26, there were 2,231 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Dorset Council area, an increase from 1,994 the previous week, and 2,354 in the Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) area, up from 2,283.
This means the infection rate per 100,000 people was 587.4 in the Dorset Council area, compared to 525.0 in the previous update on November 19, and 593.0 in the BCP area, compared to 575.1.
These are above both the South West average, and the national average of 437.
There were 95 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across Dorset, an increase from 75 the previous week.
A spokesperson for Public Health Dorset said: “Infection rates across the county have risen again since last week. Rates in both Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council are higher than the average for the South West region, and are significantly higher than England’s average case rate.
“COVID-related hospital admissions have also continued to rise, there are now 95 people in Dorset hospitals with COVID-19 compared to 75 in last week’s update. We continue to see a number of COVID-related deaths each week.
“We know that as we head into the winter months we face a challenging period, so anything we can do now to reduce transmission of COVID-19 can make a big difference.
“Infection rates remain highest amongst school-aged children, which is why we’ve recommended additional measures for schools to consider and implement since half term, including enhanced testing, reduced mixing and wearing face coverings.
“But rates are high amongst all ages and with the amount of cases we are seeing locally, it’s important to recognise that there is an increased risk from COVID-19 at the moment.
“You’re much more likely to come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, so the new advice on lateral flow tests is to take one before periods of higher risk.
“That might be going to an event or gathering or visiting someone who is more vulnerable to COVID-19, but as we all start to socialise more during the festive period, it’s also sensible to take a test before meeting family and friends.
“Wearing a mask indoors or in crowded spaces and ensuring you have plenty of fresh air – either by meeting outdoors or keeping doors and windows open when indoors – remain key to preventing the spread of the virus.
“We continue to encourage anyone eligible to take up the offer of the COVID-19 vaccine, including the booster, as this is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness caused by the virus.”
Temporary and precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant in the UK will come into force tomorrow (Tuesday), the government has confirmed.
Face coverings will be mandatory again in shops and on public transport, and all travellers returning to the UK will require PCR testing.
Public Health Dorset has not reported any confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the county.
Coronavirus cases in the Lyme Regis area
Having decreased for several weeks, COVID-19 infections in the Lyme Regis area have now started to increase once again.
In the seven-day period up until November 23, there were 24 recorded cases of COVID-19 in the Lyme Regis, Charmouth & Marshwood Vale area, an increase of 12 on the previous week.
This means the case rate per 100,000 people was 330.9 – a jump from 165.4 the previous week but still below the Dorset Council area figure of 587.4 and national average of 437.
Infections have also increased in every neighbouring area.
Figures for neighbouring areas as of November 23 were as follows: Uplyme, Kilmington & Colyton – 28 (increase of 4); Seaton – 40 (increase of 14); Axminster – 44 (increase of 7); Burton Bradstock & Chideock – 44 (increase of 12); Bridport South & West Bay – 46 (increase of 3); Bridport North – 55 (increase of 21); Beaminster, Maiden Newton & Halstock – 59 (increase of 35).
You can find out more details on COVID case numbers in your local area at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/