COVID hospitalisations have risen across Dorset, but infections rates have started to fall across the county, the local public health authority has said.

However, Public Health Dorset has said that infections remain at “very high levels” and the chance of people catching Covid is still high.

In an update on January 14, a Public Health Dorset spokesperson said: “In line with the national picture, infection rates have started to fall across Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Infections remain at very high levels, meaning your chances of catching COVID-19 remain high and we urge everyone to continue to exercise caution by following the public health measures.”

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The spokesperson said that the number of people in hospital with Covid has risen but it was “significantly lower” than in previous waves.

The spokesperson added: “The number of people in hospital in Dorset with COVID-19 has continued to increase due to the high infection rates we have seen over the past few weeks. The number currently stands at 94, compared to 74 a week ago.

"However, hospitalisations remain significantly lower than in previous waves of the pandemic - around the same time last year, Dorset hospitals were treating around 550 COVID-19 patients. The vaccine is protecting people from serious illness, so please take up the offer if you haven't done so already.”

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Latest figures show that in the seven days to January 8, 5,362 cases were recorded across the BCP Council are giving a rate of 1350.7, which was above the south west average of 1,270.2.

During the same period, there were 4,403 cases in the Dorset Council area at a rate of 1,159.3.

Rates across both the BCP Council and Dorset Council areas were below the England average of 1,695.4.

The previous week, there were 5,584 cases in the BCP Council area at a rate of 1406.6 and 4,521 cases in the Dorset Council area, giving a rate of 1,190.1.

The spokesperson added: “High infection rates are having a significant impact on services due to staff absence rates, so please do what you can to reduce transmission.

"Wear a face covering and maintain a safe distance when out and about, and when meeting others take a lateral flow test before you go and get plenty of ventilation.”