HAVING peaked at their highest ever level last week, COVID-19 cases across Dorset have started to decrease again according to the latest figures.
As of January 14, there were 4,403 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Dorset Council area, down from 4,521 the previous week, and 5,362 in the Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) area, down from 5,584.
This means the case rate per 100,000 people was 1,159.3 in the Dorset Council area, compared to 1,190.1 the previous week, and 1,350.7 in the BCP area, compared to 1,406.6.
Despite the drop in cases, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across Dorset increased from 74 to 94 over the past week.
A spokesperson for Public Health Dorset said: “In line with the national picture, infection rates have started to fall across Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
“Infections remain at very high levels, meaning your chances of catching COVID-19 remain high and we urge everyone to continue to exercise caution by following the public health measures.
“The number of people in hospital in Dorset with COVID-19 has continued to increase due to the high infection rates we have seen over the past few weeks. The number currently stands at 94, compared to 74 a week ago.
“However, hospitalisations remain significantly lower than in previous waves of the pandemic – around the same time last year, Dorset hospitals were treating around 550 COVID-19 patients. The vaccine is protecting people from serious illness, so please take up the offer if you haven’t done so already.
“High infection rates are having a significant impact on services due to staff absence rates, so please do what you can to reduce transmission.
“Wear a face covering and maintain a safe distance when out and about, and when meeting others take a lateral flow test before you go and get plenty of ventilation.
“Testing and isolation guidance has changed in recent weeks, so make sure you check the guidance if you’re not sure what to do.
“If you test positive on a lateral flow test, you should no longer take a confirmatory PCR test. You must self-isolate immediately from the time of your positive lateral flow test and log your result with the NHS so Test and Trace can follow up your contacts to prevent the spread.
“If you are applying for a Test and Trace Support Payment or you have tested positive on a Day 2 test after arriving in the UK, you will still need to get a follow-up PCR test.
“The self-isolation period following a positive test has also changed. From Monday 17 January, you can leave self-isolation after five full days if you have a negative lateral flow test 24 hours apart on Day 5 and Day 6.
“The default self-isolation period continues to be 10 days, and you may only leave self-isolation early if you have taken 2 rapid lateral flow tests and do not have a temperature in line with guidance.”
Coronavirus cases in the Lyme Regis area
COVID-19 cases in the Lyme Regis area have also started to drop, according to the latest government figures.
In the seven-day period up until January 10, there were 60 recorded cases of COVID-19 in the Lyme Regis, Charmouth & Marshwood Vale area, decrease of 15 on the previous week.
This means the case rate per 100,000 people was 827.1 – below the Dorset Council area figure of 1,159.3.
Case numbers have also started to decrease in every surrounding area.
Figures for neighbouring areas as of January 2 were as follows: Uplyme, Kilmington & Colyton – 54 (decrease of 32); Seaton – 69 (no change); Axminster – 69 (decrease of 40); Burton Bradstock & Chideock – 59 (decrease of 22); Bridport South & West Bay – 41 (decrease of 6); Bridport North – 41 (decrease of 24); Beaminster, Maiden Newton & Halstock – 68 (decrease of 12).
You can find out more details on COVID case numbers in your local area at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/