THE number of Delta variant cases of coronavirus in Dorset have nearly quadrupled in a week and the county now has the second-highest number of cases in the South West.

Public Health England’s weekly Covid-19 variant cases data show that numbers of the Delta (VOC-21APR-02) variant in the UK have risen by 33,630 since last week to a total of 75,953. The most recent data shows 99 per cent of sequenced and genotyped cases across the country are the Delta variant.

Data shows an increased risk of hospitalisation with Delta compared to Alpha, although Public Health England’s analysis shows that two doses of vaccine give a high degree of protection against hospitalisation, estimated to be more than 90 per cent.

According to Public Health England’s latest Variant Technical Briefing, as of 14 June, a total of 806 people had been hospitalised with the Delta Variant, an increase of 423 since last week. 527 of these were unvaccinated, and only 84 of the 806 had received both doses.

The latest figures, up until Wednesday, June 16 show that 339 cases of the Delta variant have been recorded across Dorset so far.

BCP Council area has reported 254 cases of the variant while Dorset Council has seen 85 people test positive for the Delta variant.

The number of Delta variant cases of coronavirus in Dorset has nearly quadrupled in a week, after 86 cases were reported last week. PHE previously reported how BCP area had 62 Delta cases while Dorset Council area had 24 cases.

Dorset Echo: Coronavirus testing site in DorsetCoronavirus testing site in Dorset

Dorset, which includes both BCP Council area and Dorset Council, currently has the second highest number of Delta variant cases in the South West, while Bristol has reported 397 cases.

Public Health England now publishes the number of deaths among people who have tested positive for Delta within the past 28 days. The case fatality rate remains low for Delta. However, deaths tend to happen some weeks after infections and the majority of cases were confirmed less than 28 days ago.

It is therefore too early to judge the case fatality of Delta compared to Alpha or other variants.

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Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive at UK Health Security Agency said:"Cases are rising rapidly across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant.

"The increase is primarily in younger age groups, a large proportion of which were unvaccinated but are now being invited to receive the vaccine.

"It is encouraging to see that hospitalisations and deaths are not rising at the same rate but we will continue to monitor it closely. The vaccination programme and the care that we are all taking to follow the guidance are continuing to save lives.

"Please make sure that you come forward to receive both doses of the vaccine as soon as you are eligible. Don’t drop your guard – practise ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times."