THE surge in Covid-19 in the Winchester district is continuing.

Today's figure of new cases reported this evening was 90; on December 26, 104, on December 27, 57, December 28, 56 and yesterday, 84. In the last five days 15 per cent of the total number of cases since last March have been reported. Yesterday the previous four days was 12 per cent of the total.

Only in Stanmore are the numbers so low that it is marked green on the Government's interactive Covid map.

District cases since last March is currently 2,611, with an infection rate of 1,907 per 100,000 people as of Sunday. Today’s infection rate for Winchester was unavailable. The national infection rate is 3,713 per 100,000.

The ‘district’ covers more than just the city and covers a swathe of central Hampshire from Micheldever to Denmead, and Crawley to Ropley.

In the week between December 23-30 there have been 448 new cases reported in Winchester area, compared to 240 in the week to December 22. Winchester is faring better than Southampton and Eastleigh where the rate has more then doubled over the same period.

Nineteen deaths have been reported in the county council area in the last 24 hours with one in the NHS area that includes the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester. The county council number of deaths is now 1,051.

The hotspot in the southern parishes at Denmead and Southwick is cooling. In the two villages in the seven days to December 25, 71 cases were reported, a daily fall on the week before of 25, or 26 per cent. The rolling rate per 100,000 people of 692 is still amongst the highest in the country.

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In the adjacent area of Swanmore, Hambledon and West Meon there have been 25 cases, up four, or 19 per cent, for a rolling number of 287, down from yesterday's 298. These have been the only two areas of the Winchester district where the increases are above the national average.

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There is only one area in the Winchester district where the numbers are dropping so fast that the area is marked green on the map and that is Stanmore. There have been only three news cases in the seven days to December 25, down three, or 50 per cent, for a rolling number of 44.2, amongst the lowest in the UK.

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In Winchester East, which comprises Winnall, St Giles Hill, Highcliffe and Bar End, there were 16 cases, up 8, for a rolling number of 196, slightly down.

The numbers are climbing fast again in Alresford. In the week to December 25 there were 22 cases, up 18, or 633 per cent, showing a sudden spike. The week before the rolling rate had been 70.9.

Across Winchester district in the seven days to December 25 there have been 313 cases, up 105, or 50.5 per cent, for a rolling number of 250.7, a sharper increase than recently.

Across Hampshire there have been 3,903 cases in the seven days to Christmas Day, an increase of 1,200 week on week, or 44.3 per cent for a rolling number of 282 per 100,000.

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The most recent figures from the NHS show there are currently 40 Covid patients at the RHCH compared to 31 last week and 63 at Basingstoke hospital compared to 44 previously.

In the NHS across Hampshire 12 people are reported today to have died. Across the county’s NHS some 907 people have died since March.

In Winchester City Council area the figure for deaths is 105, up one on yesterday. In Portsmouth it is 136, up two, and 147 in Southampton, up four.

The Office for National Statistics reports that 1,051 have died in the Hampshire County Council area, with an increase of 19 reported today.

So far, at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust there have been 240 deaths, no change since yesterday; 244 people have died at University Hospital Southampton, up four, whilst at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust the toll is now 397, up eight. Twenty-three deaths have been reported in Portsmouth this week.

Today, the Government announced that the New Forest will join the rest of the county in Tier 4, at 12.01am tomorrow, December 31. This follows today’s Government announcement of a further tightening of Covid-19 restrictions to help curb the spread of the variant of coronavirus in some parts of the country.

Cllr Keith Mans, county council leader and chairman of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “Central Government has confirmed that the whole of our local authority area will be under COVID-19 Tier 4 restrictions, from December 31.

“This comes as no surprise following a surge of cases across Hampshire and its surrounding local authority areas and is a reflection of the seriousness of the situation. I cannot stress enough how important it is to heed the Government’s advice to stay at home, particularly those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable, and to limit travel to essential journeys only.

“While I fully understand that people may be fed up with the restrictions being imposed on our everyday lives, it’s crucial that we get transmission rates down. We must continue to work together, follow the rules for our Tier and protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, Positively, the vaccine is now rolling out offering vital protection to the most vulnerable – bringing us hope for a healthier and happier spring.”

The key restrictions for Tier 4 require:

 Residents to stay at home, apart from limited exemptions set out in law;

 Non-essential retail, indoor gyms and leisure facilities, and personal care services to close;

 People to work from home if they can but they may travel to work if this is not possible, for example in the construction and manufacturing sectors;

 Those who are ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ are advised to stay at home at all times, unless for exercise or medical appointments, and not to attend work, even if they are unable to work from home;

 People not to enter or leave Tier 4 areas, and Tier 4 residents must not stay overnight away from home. Individuals can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space.

More Covid-19 news

Another vaccine approved for mass roll-out across UK

Read more here

New Forest enters into tier 4 to join the rest of Hampshire

Read more here

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