Dorset is now gripped with coronavirus and people are being urged to do all they can to help relieve pressure on our hospitals which are 'close to being overwhelmed'.

There have now been more than 20,000 cases of Covid-19 across the whole of Dorset since the start of the pandemic.

The amount of cases in the Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) areas is rising sharply each day, with the BCP area recording more cases in its area.

That grim tally of 20,000 cases was passed at the weekend when it was also revealed the amount of people who had died with Covid in Dorset's hospitals had sadly risen.

According to the latest figures, eight deaths were recorded by University Hospitals Dorset on January 6, 7 and 8. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the trust has now recorded 313 Covid-related deaths.

Meanwhile, a total of 36 people have died at Dorset County Hospital after recording a positive test since the start of the pandemic, with 35 deaths reported by the Dorset Healthcare Trust.

It has also been revealed that the number of people in Dorset’s hospitals battling coronavirus has doubled since New Year’s Eve – and we have still not yet reached the peak.

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset said: “Now is the most risky time of all throughout the whole pandemic, with our hospital services close to being overwhelmed. Infection rates locally have been doubling in less than a week. If this carries on, our hospitals will not be able to cope with caring for those needing life-saving treatment."

He added: "You can have the virus and spread it without having symptoms. Stay at home means exactly that - no-one should be leaving home unless for essential reasons like shopping for food, care or for exercise. This is the only way that we will break transmission and start to bring our coronavirus cases down.”

Residents are being advised not to attend Dorset County Hospital unless their condition is serious or life threatening.

The hospital has been very busy in recent weeks and issued a warning at the weekend amid worries that hospitals across the UK could become overwhelmed if they were to run out of available beds.

Minor injuries units or the Weymouth Urgent Treatment Centre are available if you are unwell.

Call 01305 762541 or visit

The current government advice if you believe you have coronavirus symptoms remains the same. Residents are asked to book a test at their nearest coronavirus testing site and to isolate along with anyone in your household until you receive a test result.

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, feel breathless, or your symptoms get worse and you're not sure what to do, you should call the NHS online coronavirus service on 111.