THE number of Covid patients being treated in Dorset hospitals remains ‘higher than anything experienced’ in 2020 – but case rates are continuing to fall, public health officials have said.

Data released by Public Health Dorset on Friday, February 19, showed the case rate for the BCP Council is still above the England average, while the rate for the Dorset Council area is now slightly lower than that of the South West average.

There are 194 patients in hospital being treated for Covid, compared to 269 the previous week.

Public Health Dorset said: “Case rates must continue to fall steadily to allow restrictions to be eased safely.

“The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital beds is much lower than at the peak in January, but is still higher than anything we experienced during 2020. The situation has improved but health and care services remain under pressure, so it's really important that we all continue to play our part in stopping COVID-19 from spreading.”

The rate per 100,000 people for the BCP area in the seven days to February 12 was 159.1 compared to 250.2 the previous week. Dorset’s rate was 92.2 after falling from 146.6 previously.

The average rate for the South West was 93.7 and 137.8 in England.

Swanage and Wareham Voice:

Meanwhile, the number of cases has fallen from 989 to 629 in the BCP area and from 555 to 349 in wider Dorset.

In terms of vaccinations, 240,890 doses had been administered to people in Dorset up to February 14.

A Public Health Dorset spokesperson added: “We would like to thank residents who have followed the rules to help bring cases down and improve our local situation. We know that COVID-19 spreads very easily so we cannot become complacent as this could quickly lead to a rise in cases again.

“Don't take risks by bending the rules, and please self-isolate and book a test if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.”

On Monday, prime minister Boris Johnson will set out his 'roadmap' for how the coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be eased.