A TOWN now has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Dorset after a recent surge in new infections.

Public Health England breaks down the numbers of Covid-19 cases into neighbourhoods called 'Middle Super Output Areas' (MSOAs), which are smaller than council wards and based on population rather than geographical area.

The interactive map, which can be found online, allows users to type in their postcode and see how many cases were reported in their area and if it has increased or decreased from the week before.

The darker the colour on the image, the more positive test results have been recorded.

Shaftesbury has reported 56 cases in the seven days to Wednesday, September 8 – the most recent data available. This is an increase of 17 cases on the week before, when 39 cases were reported.

Dorset Echo: How many Covid-19 cases there are in Shaftesbury. Picture: Public Health EnglandHow many Covid-19 cases there are in Shaftesbury. Picture: Public Health England

The market town also has a case rate per 100,000 people of 626.7.

This area has the highest number of reported Covid-19 cases in Dorset while neighbouring areas have reported lower figures.

Gillingham Outer, Bourton & Motcombe has reported 25 cases, Child Okeford & Iwerne Minster reported 14 cases, while Mere & East Knoyle and Tisbury, Donhead & Tollard Royal in Wiltshire have reported 16 and 10 cases respectively.

According to Public Health England’s data, it is also around the highest number of active coronavirus cases the area has recorded during the course of the pandemic.

Previous data reported 58 Covid-19 cases in the seven days to Tuesday, September 7.

The reason for the spike in cases in Shaftesbury is not clear, but the town has reported high numbers of Covid-19 cases in recent days according to the data.

Dorset Echo: How many Covid-19 cases there are in Dorset according to the map. Picture: Public Health EnglandHow many Covid-19 cases there are in Dorset according to the map. Picture: Public Health England

Dorset, including Dorset Council and BCP Council areas, has seen 2, 289 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the seven days to Wednesday, September 8.

Dorset Council area has reported 1,141 Covid cases while 1,148 positive tests have been recorded in the BCP Council area.

It is worth noting that case rates in both council areas are below the average for the South West and England.

What Public Health Dorset say about recent Covid-19 cases

Dorset Echo:

A spokesman for Public Health Dorset stated that there has been a ‘slight rise’ in Covid-19 cases in the Dorset Council area, while there has been a ‘small decline’ in cases in BCP Council area.

The county is still experiencing some Covid-19 related deaths, but the roll-out of the vaccination programme appears to have reduced the risk of the virus to the general population.

He said: “This week we have seen a slight rise in Covid-19 cases in the Dorset Council area this week and a small decline in Covid-19 case rates across the BCP Council area.

“Both Dorset Council and BCP Council case rates are below the average for the South West and England.

“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.

“We continue to urge anyone who hasn't yet had their first or second dose of the Covid vaccine to book an appointment or attend a walk-in clinic.

“It's also important to keep testing regularly with rapid lateral flow tests to check that you're not infectious and putting other people at risk - we know that it's still possible to catch or spread COVID-19 even after you've been vaccinated.

“Order your free tests online or collect from a local pharmacy. Anyone with Covid symptoms should self-isolate and book a PCR test.”