THREE of the thirteen patients currently in hospital in Bournemouth and Poole are in intensive care, the hospitals confirmed.

The chief medical officer for University Hospitals Dorset, confirmed the number of Covid-19 patients, and said there are “rigorous measure” in place this winter.

Dr Alyson O’Donnell said: “There are currently 13 patients in our hospitals who have tested positive for Covid-19 – seven at Royal Bournemouth, including three in intensive care, and six at Poole, with none in intensive care.

“We have rigorous measures in place to ensure we are able to provide care for everyone that needs it this winter.

“This includes strict observance of infection control measures, and the creation of clinical spaces - from admission to discharge - that are dedicated to treating patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19.

“We closely study both local and national trends, as well as national and international guidance and best practice, to enable us to respond to any changes quickly and decisively.

“We support all measures aimed at reducing the spread of this illness and encourage the public to observe any and all measures they are asked to.

“A significant number of staff are now trained in the care of patients with the illness, while specialist clinical equipment needed for these patients, like ventilators, are ready and waiting should they be needed.

“We ask the public to support us too, by only attending hospital if absolutely necessary and to stay away if they have any symptoms of Covid-19, flu or diarrhoea and vomiting. Please follow the latest guidance on responsible and safe hospital visiting, and use alternative services to A&E like NHS 111, their GP, or a local pharmacy, where appropriate.”

It comes a few days after the government announced the new tier system to measure the risk of coronavirus.

The BCP Council area is placed in the medium category, the lowest tier, meaning the rule of six is in place in all settings and hospitality settings must close at 10pm.