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

Dorset Echo:

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 CCG, the tool predicts an increase in Covid-19 cases could place a severe strain on hospitals across Dorset.

Dorset Echo:

Some areas of Weymouth, as seen above, have a higher expected risk of hospitalisation than others.

The areas with the highest expected risk are in the Overcombe and Preston areas, with 14.9 per 1,000.

Dorset Echo:

Dorchester is similar on the interactive tool to Weymouth, with some areas being rated s having a higher risk of hospitalisation than others.

Dorset Echo:

While Portland is predicted to be less affected than its neighbouring towns.

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."