BOSSES at a Dorset hospital are begging people not to visit unless they are in a 'life-threatening situation', as figures revealed admission rates for Covid patients had almost doubled in a week.

Dorset County Hospital issued a plea yesterday - the second in 10 days - as bosses warned that the hospital 'continues to be extremely busy' and urged people only to use the emergency department (ED) if they are experiencing a 'serious of life-threatening situation'.

Instead, they advised that people should call 111 or visit to find out where they should go to seek medical assistance to avoid people turning up at the emergency department unnecessarily.

On Twitter, a spokesman wrote: "Our hospital continues to be extremely busy. Please only use our emergency department for serious or life-threatening situations.

"If you’re unwell and are unsure about where to go, visit or call 111."

At Dorset County Hospital admission rates have almost doubled in a week, while rates in the rest of the county remains mostly unchanged.

Figures from NHS England show that hospital admissions at DCH have seen a sharp rise, though the numbers of people being treated at the facility remains low.

There were 55 people admitted to hospitals across Dorset in the seven days up to September 5 - up from 49 in the previous week.

In Dorchester 18 people were admitted to DCH between August 30 and September 5 - up from just six the previous week.

In Bournemouth and Poole, 35 people were admitted to University Hospitals Dorset Trust.

Meanwhile, figures show just two patients were admitted to the Dorset Healthcare Trust (DHT) during the same one-week period.

As of September 7 there were 14 patients at Dorset County Hospital occupying a bed - up from seven the previous week.

There were 21 people occupying a hospital bed with the virus in Bournemouth and Poole - down from 36 the previous week.

Five patients were occupying hospital beds with coronavirus at DHT.

Across England, 6,244 people were occupying a hospital bed with coronavirus and 482 in the south west.

Of people needing mechanical ventilation, five patients at DCH required a ventilator, six people required a ventilator at UHD and no patients at the DHT needed mechanical ventilation.

Across England, 885 patients needed a ventilator and 65 people in the south west with coronavirus required a ventilator.

As part of its weekly update, Public Health Dorset said: "Hospitalisations related to COVID-19 have remained at around 40-50 since the beginning of August, with 40 people currently in hospital with COVID-19. We have started to see a number of COVID-related deaths each week due to COVID-19, but these are at much lower levels than during previous waves.

“This shows that the vaccine is having an impact on protecting people from serious illness and death.”