NEW Covid cases continue to soar in Winchester with the district now with worse figures than nearly half the local authority areas of the UK.

Its rate of new cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 11 is 293.3, worse than 149 of the 315 council areas. Three weeks ago there were only 60 better, showing how Winchester has slipped.

First the first time in months the numbers of patients in hospital has risen sharply. As of today Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust is caring for 25 Covid patients across its hospitals; 13 at Basingstoke, 11 at RHCH and 1 in Andover.

The rise in numbers has heavily impacted on local schools including, as reported, Kings' secondary school switching to remote learning and three years (Reception, Years 1 and 2) at Western primary school having to self-isolate this week.

In the week to July 11, Covid cases rose in 10 of the 14 parts of the district, which covers the city council area, with a fall in Alresford (6 cases, down 8, 57 per cent, 70.9 per 100,000) and Colden Common and Twyford (11 cases, down 1, 4 per cent, 230.9 per 100,000) and no change in Oliver's Battery and Hursley (24, 293.5 per 100,000) and South Wonston, Sutton Scotney and Micheldever (12, 204.2 per 100,000).

Across the district the numbers are up 81 per cent, with cases nearly doubling in a week. Some 365 new cases were reported, up 163, for a rolling number of 292.3, the highest numbers since February.

Across Hampshire there were 3,364 new cases to July 11, up 1,240 or 56 per cent for a rolling 243.3.

Hampshire Chronicle:

The biggest increases were in the city. Stanmore, where Kings' is situated, in the seven days to July 11, saw 31 cases, a rise of 13, or 123 per cent, for a rolling number per 100,000 people of 457.1, the highest figures since January and the peak of the second wave. Sunday July 11 is the most recent day for which localised figures are available. Winchester West, which includes Weeke and Fulflood and Western school, saw 41 new cases, up 30, or 273 per cent for a rolling 411.4 per 100,000. In the southern parishes, the highest number was Bishop's Waltham and Waltham Chase: 39 cases, up 27, 225 per cent, for a rolling 403.1.

These three areas, with infection rates of over 400 per 100,000, are now marked in maroon colour on the Government map, which shows that Southampton has several areas with the high infection rate.

Figures for the other areas of the district are: Winchester East (Winnall and Highcliffe), 31 cases, up 20, 182 per cent, for rolling 380.6; Winchester North and Sparsholt, 25 cases, up 8, 47 per cent, 257.6; Winchester Central and South, 35 cases, up 14, 67 per cent, 318.3; Springvale and Itchen Abbas, 23, up 16, 229 per cent, 334.5; Swanmore, West Meon and Hambledon, 24, up 17, 243 per cent, 275.6; Wickham, Knowle and Whiteley, 34, up 19, 127 per cent, 290.4; Denmead and Southwick, 18, up 8, 80 per cent, 175.5.

The last death in the Winchester district was on March 3, 134 days ago. In the area covered by the HHFT there have been 439 deaths since the start of the pandemic in spring 2020 but none for 82 days, since April 22.

The vaccination rate in Winchester for first dose is 85.4 per cent, compared to 87.5 per cent nationally; for both doses Winchester is doing better with 68.2 per cent against 67.1 per cent nationally.