COVID case rates in Dorset are among the highest in England, the local health authority has said.

In an update on December 3, Public Health Dorset said that the number of people in hospital with Covid has “continued to increase” although the impact of the vaccine is being seen as hospitlisations are down compared to previous waves.

A spokesperson said: “Infection rates remain at high levels across Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, however we have seen a slight decrease in Dorset Council infection rates over the past week.

“Our local case rates are higher than both the South West and England averages, and are amongst the highest in England. The number of people in hospital across Dorset with COVID-19 has continued to increase, although we can see the impact of the vaccine as in previous waves we have seen much higher numbers of people in hospital. We’ve also continued to see a number of deaths related to COVID-19 each week.”

Public Health Dorset also said that no cases of the new Omicron variant have been identified in the county.

The spokesperson added: “We know that many people will be concerned following the news on the new Omicron variant, which has been found in the UK, and the government has introduced some new measures in response to this as a precaution whilst more analysis is carried out.

“We’ve not yet identified any cases in Dorset but we’ll continue to work with regional and national colleagues to monitor the situation closely and it is expected that more cases will be found in the UK.”

Latest data showed the case rate per 100,000 people in the seven days to November 27 was 609.1 in the BCP Council area, compared to 593.0 in last update.

During this period, there were 2,418 cases recorded in the BCP area, up slightly from 2,354 previously.

Meanwhile, the Dorset Council area’s rate was 570.8 compared to 587.4 previously.

The number of cases fell slightly from 2,231 to 2,168.

There are currently 95 people being treated for Covid in Dorset’s hospitals.