THERE are now four times as many Covid patients in Dorset hospitals than during the peak of the first wave in April with admissions and deaths continuing to rise, health officials have said.

Public health authority Public Health Dorset said case rates have started to ‘level off’ but until there is a “significant reduction” in cases, hospital admissions in Dorset are “likely to remain high”.

The situation has been described as “unprecedented” with Dorset’s NHS services facing “extreme levels of demand”.

There are currently 552 patients in Dorset hospitals with Covid, which is up from 452 the previous week.

In an update on Friday, Public Health Dorset said: “Hospital admissions have continued to increase. NHS services in Dorset are experiencing unprecedented and extreme levels of demand.

“There are now more than four times as many COVID patients in Dorset hospitals than at the peak of the first wave in April. Sadly we are also seeing COVID-related deaths continue to rise.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Latest figures show in the seven days to January 16, there were 3,138 cases of the coronavirus confirmed in the BCP area compared to 3,524 the previous week.

The case rate per 100,000 people has fallen from 891.4 to 793.8.

In wider Dorset, 1,175 new cases have been reported which is down from 1,261 previously, giving a rate of 310.4 compared to 333.2.

Public Health Dorset said: “COVID infection rates, particularly across the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area, are not falling as quickly as we would have liked. We have started to see case rates level off and decrease marginally, but until we see a significant reduction in cases our hospital admissions are likely to remain high.”

It said the BCP Council area has the 20th highest infection rate of all local authorities across the UK.

The average rate for England is 484.0 and 331.5 in the south west.

On vaccinations, the health authority said 68,693 doses had been administered to people in Dorset up to January 17.

People have been urged to stay at home as much as possible and book a test or self-isolate with their household if they have any symptoms.