COVID infections across Dorset are thought to have peaked in the latest wave and are expected to start to decline – according to director of public health Sam Crowe.

He said that 121 patients are currently in local hospitals with Covid, although only around a third are there because of the severity of their infection. The majority were admitted for other reasons and then found to have been infected.

Mr Crowe told Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councillors at a public health overview and scrutiny meeting on Monday evening that most patients in hospital and in the wider community locally had the BA4 or 5 omicron variants which is thought to be currently affecting 5.7per cent of us, one in seventeen people.

He said that without vaccinations the hospital figures, and deaths, would have been much higher with the injections reducing the severity of the infection, it’s primary purpose.

Bournemouth Echo: Sam CroweSam Crowe

The director said plans were currently being made for the next round of vaccinations for the over 50s with some patients likely to also be offered a flu’ vaccination at the same time.

In response to questions he said there was little or no evidence of having both together causing side effects, although said there was a national debate currently underway in medical circles about whether it might be better to wait for a new generation of vaccines to be licenced before starting the autumn jabs campaign.

Mr Crowe said there had been “a handful” of monkey pox cases locally, mostly from people who had network links to London and the South East where it was more prevalent.

He said that local sexual health professionals were keeping up to date with what was happening and consideration was being given to vaccinations for those who might be most at risk in Dorset.