‘ACT now to prevent a major future spike in coronavirus cases and further restrictions.’

That’s the message to residents from Public Health Dorset following the recent rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the county.

Here’s what Public Health Dorset has said.

What is the ‘risk’ for Dorset?

Director Sam Crowe said Dorset is currently defined as a “medium risk” area after recording a “low” number of cases in recent months.

However, following a “significant increase” in cases, particularly in the Bournemouth area, he has urged people to “follow the rules” in a bid to prevent ‘community transmission’.

Mr Crowe said: “We are classed as a medium risk area, having experienced a low number of cases over the last few months. However, we have seen a significant increase in case numbers and case rates in recent weeks, particularly in the Bournemouth area.”

Where have most of the cases been coming from recently?

Mr Crowe said that the cases have been “mostly contained within household bubbles, specific workplaces and education settings”.

However, he said if the current rate at which cases are rising continues, we are at risk of the virus spreading more widely amongst people, known as community transmission.

Mr Crowe added: “To prevent this, people must follow the rules.”

Will we see more restrictions?

Mr Crowe said: “While there is no immediate need for increased restrictions like we’re seeing in other areas, it is vital we all follow all the guidelines otherwise we will start to see stronger measures here.”

What should I do if I have symptoms?

“If you are showing symptoms or have been identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19 you must self-isolate and not leave your house for any reason at all other than to be tested.”

What is BCP Council saying?

Cllr Nicola Greene, BCP Council portfolio holder for Covid resilience, said: “People across the BCP area have done a great job so far and I’d like to thank all those who’ve taken their responsibilities seriously. Whilst no-one enjoys the restrictions in place, actions like wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces are a minor inconvenience compared to the likely impacts if we don’t all continue to do the right thing.”

Cllr Greene added: “We have seen cases recently where people are not following the advice and unfortunately passing Covid-19 on to other people. I urge everyone to do your bit to help keep your family, friends and local communities safe. Follow the rules so we can avoid having to take further action and can instead continue to enjoy the relative freedoms of doing normal things safely.”