COVID-19 infection rates remain high across Dorset, with further increases seen over the past week.
The latest figures released on December 10 showed that there were 2,279 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Dorset Council area, compared to 2,168 the previous week, and 2,712 cases in the Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) area, compared to 2,418.
This means the case rate per 100,000 people was 600.1 in the Dorset Council area, up from 570.8 the previous week, and 683.1 in the BCP area, up from 609.1.
This compared to the national average of 497 cases per 100,000 people.
As of December 10, there were 79 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across Dorset, a drop from 103 in the last update on December 3.
A spokesperson for Public Health Dorset said: “COVID-19 infection rates have continued to increase over the past week in Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.
“This follows an upward trend across the South West region and England, but both council areas remain above the regional and national averages.
“The number of people in hospital in Dorset with COVID-19 has decreased to 79, but we will continue to monitor the trend over time as we know there can be fluctuations due to admissions and discharges.
“We have continued to see a number of deaths related COVID-19.
“Due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, the Prime Minister announced last week that England will move to Plan B COVID measures.
“This includes the re-introduction of face coverings in most indoor settings, work from home guidance and the introduction of COVID passes for nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather.
“Locally, we are asking everyone to consider the risks and do what they can to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
“The vaccination gives you good protection against serious illness, but we know that it doesn’t always stop you from catching or spreading the virus, so it’s important to keep taking other measures.
“Take a rapid lateral flow test regularly, especially if you’re meeting others. Get plenty of fresh air by meeting outdoors or keeping doors and windows open. Wear a face covering in indoor spaces, making sure it covers your mouth and your nose.
“If we all play our part now in stopping the spread, we can help prevent the need for further restrictions.”
Coronavirus cases in the Lyme Regis area
COVID-19 cases in the Lyme Regis area have also increased slightly, according to the latest figures.
In the seven-day period up until December 7, there were 32 recorded cases of COVID-19 in the Lyme Regis, Charmouth & Marshwood Vale area, an increase of 10 on the previous week.
This means the case rate per 100,000 people was 441.1 – below the Dorset Council area figure of 600.1 and national average of 497.
Figures for neighbouring areas as of December 7 were as follows: Uplyme, Kilmington & Colyton – 55 (increase of 15); Seaton – 72 (increase of 3); Axminster – 63 (decrease of 26); Burton Bradstock & Chideock – 29 (decrease of 3); Bridport South & West Bay – 22 (decrease of 17); Bridport North – 48 (increase of 13); Beaminster, Maiden Newton & Halstock – 34 (decrease of 2).
You can find out more details on COVID case numbers in your local area at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
Moving to Plan B – what has changed?
You must wear a face covering in most indoor public places, at large venues and events, and on public transport. From Monday, December 13, you should work from home if you can. From Wednesday, December 15, you’ll need to show your NHS COVID Pass at nightclubs, some venues and large events to show you’re fully vaccinated, have had a negative test result in the last 48 hours, or you have an exemption.
The government has also accelerated its programme for COVID-19 booster jabs. As of Monday, December 13 all over 18s who had their second dose of the vaccine at least three months ago are able to get their booster jab.
The booster vaccines are available at walk-in centres, and from Wednesday appointments will be available to book on the NHS website for all those aged 18 and over.