“An extremely tough time” says Public Health Dorset

As Dorset faces its highest levels of cases since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, director of Public Health Dorset, Sam Crowe, in his latest briefing says no one wants to be in lockdown again but we’ve got to stick to the guidance.

He has also thanked the “overwhelming majority” of Dorset residents who have complied with the public health measures, month after month.


Cases have risen again across Dorset over the last week, but there’s not been a sharp increase in the Dorset Council area, although this is not true for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area.

The most worrying trend is the increase in the number of Covid patients in hospital. Currently, as of 16th January 2021, there are 452 patients in hospital beds in Dorset, compared to 272 on 8th January 2021.

Ambulances outside Dorset County Hospital
Dorset County Hospital


In Swanage, the number of confirmed cases for the seven days up to 10th January 2021 is 44, while the 7 day case rates per 100,000 is 448.2. While this is the highest rate since the start of the pandemic, it is just below the national average in England.

Public Health Dorset data 3rd to 9th January 2021

Confirmed cases in last 7 days

  • Dorset: 1,261 (compared to 1,171 last week)
  • BCP: 3,524 (compared to 2,400 last week)
  • South West: 21,944 (compared to 19,354 last week)
  • England: 350,264 (compared to 344,555 last week)

7 day case rates per 100,000

  • Dorset: 333.2 (compared to 309.4 last week)
  • BCP: 891.4 (compared to 607.1 last week)
  • South West: 390.1 (compared to 344.1last week)
  • England: 622.3 (compared to 612.1 last week)

Covid deaths in last 7 days

  • Dorset: 26
  • BCP: 37
Covid data from Public Health Dorset

“Four times higher than we saw under lockdown two”

In his latest video briefing, director of Public Health Dorset, Sam Crowe said:

“As I’m sure you’re all aware, we’ve been in an extremely difficult situation over the past few weeks and we’ve seen levels of infection that we haven’t previously seen.

“The daily case rate in the BCP Council and Dorset Council areas has been four times higher than we saw under lockdown two, so that’s the reason why the government had to act and to introduce those national restrictions. It is the only way we can get our infection rate down.

“No one likes to be in lockdown for a third time and for that reason, I just wanted to thank the overwhelming majority of people locally who’ve continued to comply with the public health measures month after month. I know it’s been an extremely tough time.

“But sticking to the guidance – staying at home, reducing social mixing, remembering to wear a mask if you’re in an indoor public place, wash your hands and keep your distance – those are the only way currently that we’re going to get the infection rate down, continue to protect our public services and above all save lives.

“So once again, I’d really like to thank you for all the efforts that you’re making. The vast majority of people are sticking to the guidance and let’s hope that within a couple of weeks, we’ll start to see the rates come down and the pressure on our services ease.”

Watch the latest update from Public Health Dorset

The Local Resilience Forum have penned an open letter

Sam Crowe has also joined forces with leaders across Dorset this week to deliver a message to Dorset residents at this crucial point in the fight against the pandemic. Local authorities, NHS services, police, fire, utilities and voluntary and community sector organisations, under the banner of the Local Resilience Forum, have penned an open letter.

In the letter, Dorset Police chief constable, James Vaughan said:

“I would like to personally thank the good people of Dorset for your support as we continue to police this pandemic.

“We know from the messages we have received from many of you, particularly on social media, that the vast majority understands the gravity of the situation we are in and that you agree and support our approach to policing, especially with regards to recent protests in Bournemouth.”

Leader of Dorset Council, councillor Spencer Flower, added:

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the vast majority of people living in Dorset have followed the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines to keep themselves and others safe. It is only during the past couple of weeks that we’ve started to see higher numbers of Covid-19 cases in the Dorset Council area, and it’s possible the new variant of the virus is causing that.

“Can I offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has followed the rules, and urge you to keep doing so at this challenging time. Please stay at home where possible, stay safe, and together we’ll get through this.”

More information

  • Read the full letter
  • Read the latest update on Covid-19 cases in Dorset on the Public Health Dorset website
  • What’s the situation in your local area? See the postcode checker and the interactive map on the UK Government website
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