MORE than 250  Delta variant Covid cases have been identified in BCP, the second highest in the south west.

New figures released by Public Health England show that of the positive cases recorded up to Wednesday, June 16, 254 in the BCP Council area were the Delta variant.

In addition, the Dorset Council area had 85 Delta cases.

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These figures are up dramatically compared to the previous week - up to June 8, BCP had identified 62 Delta cases and Dorset had 24.

BCP now has the highest number of Delta variant cases in the south west, only behind the city of Bristol who have recorded 397. 

Public Health England’s weekly COVID-19 variant cases data show that numbers of the Delta (VOC-21APR-02) variant in the UK have risen by 33,630 since last week to a total of 75,953.

The most recent data shows 99% of sequenced and genotyped cases across the country are the Delta variant.

The variant, which originated in India, continues to show a significantly higher rate of growth compared to the Alpha variant, which was first found in the UK.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive, UK Health Security Agency said: "Cases are rising rapidly across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant.

"The increase is primarily in younger age groups, a large proportion of which were unvaccinated but are now being invited to receive the vaccine.

"It is encouraging to see that hospitalisations and deaths are not rising at the same rate but we will continue to monitor it closely. The vaccination programme and the care that we are all taking to follow the guidance are continuing to save lives.

"Please make sure that you come forward to receive both doses of the vaccine as soon as you are eligible. Don’t drop your guard – practise ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times."

Data shows an increased risk of hospitalisation with Delta compared to Alpha, although Public Health England’s analysis shows that two doses of vaccine give a high degree of protection against hospitalisation, estimated to be more than 90 per-cent.

According to Public Health England’s latest Variant Technical Briefing, as of 14 June, a total of 806 people had been hospitalised with the Delta Variant, an increase of 423 since last week. 527 of these were unvaccinated, and only 84 of the 806 had received both doses.