Half term not a break from Covid as Dorset hospital numbers rise

The number of people in hospitals across Dorset with Covid-19 has shot up over the past two weeks – reaching a total of 44.

This new number is a stark increase from seven people in Dorset hospitals just two weeks ago, although Dorset remains one of the counties in England with the lowest number of Covid hospitalisations.

At a Dorset Council live online briefing for residents, it was reported that cases of COVID-19 had also increased over the past few weeks in both the Dorset Council region and the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area.

From 11th to 17th October 2020, there were 245 in Dorset Council’s jurisdiction and 481 new cases were reported in the BCP area.

Number of confirmed new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Dorset Council area

11th to 17th October 2020 – 245 cases
4th to 10th October 2020 – 182 cases
28th September to 4th October – 93 cases

Number of confirmed new positive cases of COVID-19 in the BCP Council area

11th to 17th October – 481 cases
4th to 10th October 2020 – 453 cases
28th September to 4th October – 265 cases

Graph of number of cases
Public Health Dorset
Graph showing number of
Public Health Dorset

Data published by Public Health Dorset on Thursday 22nd October 2020

Outbreak within a hospital ward

Speaking at the Dorset Council live update for residents on Thursday 22nd October 2020, Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health, said that these rises in cases appear to be coming from a variety of settings – including an outbreak within a hospital ward.

He said:

“I know that there’s been a lot of publicity about the return of students to higher education settings and we’ve seen a consequent rise in the infection rates in the 18 to 30 age group.

“But we’re also still seeing cases coming through in a diversity of settings. We’re seeing continued positive cases affecting schools, continued positive cases affecting our care homes – we’re also seeing a number of workplaces increasingly affected by Covid, and in the last week or so we’ve had more and more reports of Covid affecting GP surgeries, affecting our community hospitals and also we’ve had at least one outbreak in a ward in one of our hospitals.”

Chief Executive of Dorset Council Matt Prosser
Dorset Council

Chief Executive of Dorset Council, Matt Prosser giving a live online update on coronavirus to Dorset residents

Half term approaches

While Dorset remains in Tier 1 of Covid restrictions and no national lockdown plans for England are planned, residents and visitors must still remain vigilant throughout the school half term break.

Matt Prosser, Chief Executive of Dorset Council, said:

“We can’t prevent visitors coming to Dorset. What we can do is try to ensure those who do come to Dorset, do so respectfully and safely and remember that while they are on holiday, they are not on holiday from restrictions and they need to adopt appropriate behaviour.

“We obviously ask any visitors to adopt that mindset of being aware and respecting social distancing and the rule of six.”

Cases at university

The return of universities has been a contentious issue regarding the spread of COVID-19.

Bournemouth University – like many other places in Dorset – has experienced a rise of cases over the past several weeks.

Since 1st August 2020, the number of cases reported among university staff and students – regardless of location – has been 256, of which 72 were in the past seven days.

This is out of a total 1,723 staff and 16,606 students at the university.

A spokesperson said:

“This figure shows all cases reported to us since 1st August 2020, and this figure includes staff and students regardless of location, with some working and studying remotely outside of BCP.  From this week, each Friday, we will report the number of new cases in the last seven days.”

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