A NEW online tool has revealed the potential coronavirus hotspots across west Dorset.

Experts from Oxford University have created an interactive map which highlights and shades the local areas expected to have the highest rate of hospitalisations from Covid-19.

The data is created by combining census estimates and hospital capacity data from ONS and NHS at the Administrative Region, Ceremonial Country (CC), Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) level from England and Wales. The map takes into account a number of factors, including population and other vulnerability factors such as age, social deprivation, population density, ethnicity and hospital capacity.

When looking at the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area, the map shows there is a higher expected rate of hospitalisations than in neighbouring counties.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

The expected risk of hospitalisation in Dorset is 9.4 people per 1,000 for general care, while a rate of 3.4 per 1,000 are expected to need acute care.

While this may seem a small fraction, with a population of more than 772,000 and just 31 acute care beds across the whole of the county, the tool predicts an increase in Covid-19 cases could place a severe strain on hospitals across Dorset.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

West Dorset has a higher average risk of hospitalisation rate than most of the county, with most areas shaded dark red.

Some of the areas predicted to be worst affected are West Bay, with 14.9 per 1,000 people predicted to be hospitalised, 5.9 per 1,000 into acute care.

Lyme Regis is another predicted hot spot, with 14.3 per 1,000 expected to be hospitalised according to the data, 5.9 per 1,000 into acute care.

A note on the study's results said: "By providing fine-grained estimates of expected hospitalization, we identify areas that face higher disproportionate health care burdens due to Covid-19, with respect to pre-crisis levels of hospital bed capacity. Including additional risks beyond age-composition of the area, such as social deprivation, race/ethnic composition and population density offers a further nuanced identification of areas with disproportionate health care demands."

The study was conducted by Oxford University and the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science. Professor Melinda Mills, author and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, said: "With additional outbreaks and second waves, thinking not only regionally, but at much smaller scale at the neighbourhood level will be the most effective approach to stifle and contain outbreaks, particularly when a lack of track and trace is in place."