THE 10 areas in Dorset with the fewest number of Covid cases reported during the entire pandemic have been revealed.

Public Health England figures looking back to March 2020 show the number of infections recorded on a weekly basis in a particular area since the pandemic began.

The data covers every weekly period from March 17, 2020 to April 23, 2021.

Public Health England breaks down the numbers of coronavirus cases into neighbourhoods called 'Middle Super Output Areas' (MSOAs), which are smaller than council wards and based on population rather than geographical area. They also have an average population of 7,200.

An analysis has identified the total number of infections (based on the figures provided) reported in each MSOA over the past 12 months.

However, due to the way the figures are counted, the overall total of coronavirus cases actually reported in each area is likely to be higher.

How are the figures counted?

Data by Public Health England shows the number of Covid cases reported week by week from March last year through to last week.

These figures are broken down by small areas in England (towns, villages or even wards) called MSOAs.

To protect the privacy of individuals, data for areas that in one particular week reported fewer than two cases comes up as 'suppressed'.

This means that it is impossible to know how many cases were recorded there in weekly periods when figures were between zero and two.

Why does it matter?

When trying to work out the total number of infections reported in each MSOA since the start of the pandemic, the lack of data affects the overall total.

An example of this can be seen in the total number of infections for the Dorset Council, which has recorded 11,878 cases as of Thursday, April 29.

If we were to calculate this total by adding up the number of cases found in each MSOA in Dorset Council area over the past 12 months, that figure would be skewed by under 1,000 cases - falling short of the total figure.

Data for Dorset Council area, and wider BCP Council area as a whole, unlike that for each individual MSOA, is publicly accessible as there are no privacy concerns around it.

Are the figures reliable?

As the figures analysed by Dorset Echo are released by Public Health England, it is safe to assume they are.

While it is important to note that the real totals will be slightly higher, provisional totals still allow us to identify the areas most and least affected by the virus in the past 12 months.

Here are the 10 areas across Dorset with the fewest Covid-19 cases:

• Bridport South and West Bay – 40 cases

• Bridport North – 91 cases

• Burton Bradstock and Chideock – 93 cases

• Weymouth West – 94 cases

• Beaminster, Maiden Newton and Halstock – 114 cases

• Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Marshwood Vale – 131 cases

• Milborne, Winterborne and Okeford Fitzpaine – 139 cases

• Owermoigne, Broadmayne and Winterbourne – 142 cases

• Corfe Castle & Langton Matravers – 146 cases

• Wyke Regis – 155 cases

It should be noted that the areas of Dorset with the fewest coronavirus cases are all within the Dorset Council area.

For comparison, here are the areas in the BCP Council district with the fewest Covid-19 cases:

• West Highcliffe – 230 cases

• Highcliffe and Walkford – 264 cases

• Mudeford – 281 cases

• Kinson East – 282 cases

• Merely – 296 cases

• Somerford – 298 cases

• Burton and Airport – 321 cases

• Branksome East – 326 cases

• Hamworthy East – 339 cases

• Christchurch Town – 352 cases