DORSET has seen “significant” increases in covid cases across the county with hospitalisations rising by a third in the past week, public health officials have said.

Public Health Dorset said the number of patients in hospital with Covid across the county has risen from 39 to 53.

A spokesperson said: “We have seen significant increases in COVID-19 cases across the county this week. Both the Dorset Council and BCP Council areas have seen sharp rises along with the wider south west region.

“Hospitalisations have also increased by a third over the past week. Case rates are highest amongst school-aged children, but we are seeing cases rise in all age groups.”

The case rate per 100,000 people has risen from 408.3 in the BCP Council area compared to 267.3 in the seven days to October 15.

Meanwhile, the number of cases has grown from 1,061 to 1,621 across the conurbation.

In the wider Dorset area during the same period, the case rate rose from 348.3 to 515.0 per 100,000 people with cases rising from 1,323 to 1,956.

The case rate across the whole of Dorset remains below the south west average of 629.6 but above the England average of 455.7.

Public Health Dorset is urging residents to be aware that the level of risk has changed as cases rise, choose to meet outdoors where possible, keep windows and doors open when meeting indoors and maintain social distancing.