THE rapid rise in new Covid cases in Winchester district appears to have peaked.

In recent weeks district had worse figures than nearly half the local authority areas of the UK.

But this week the local numbers appears to have stabilised as numbers soar elsewhere. On Tuesday there were only 38 areas with better numbers. Its rate of new cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 15 is 301.9.

In the week to July 15, Covid cases rose in 8 of the 14 parts of the district, which covers the city council area, with a fall in six: Alresford (8 cases, down 1, 11 per cent, 94.6 per 100,000); Stanmore (22, down 10, 31 per cent, 324.4; Winchester Central/South, 28, down 4, 12 per cent, 254.6; Winchester East (22, down 2, 8 per cent, 270.1); South Wonston, Sutton Scotney and Micheldever (10, down 4, 29 per cent, 170.1); Swanmore, Hambledon and West Meon (13, down 8, 38 per cent, 149.3).

To July11 across the district the numbers were 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. But just four days later, the numbers were 377, only up 48 or 15 per cent, or 301.9 showing the rise is flattening out.

Across Hampshire numbers are soaring with 5,403 new cases to July 15, up 2,408 or 80 per cent for a rolling 390.8.

Two areas of the district have seen continuing high infection rates: Wickham, Knowle and Whiteley (46 cases, up 18, 64 per cent, 392.9); and Bishop's Waltham and Waltham Chase (42, up 12, 40 per cent, 431.1). These two areas are now marked maroon on the Government map, the second highest designation.

Cases doubled in Denmead and Southwick, 31, up 16, 107 per cent, 302.3.

Winchester West reported 41, up 5, 14 per cent, 411.4.

The other four areas which saw increases to July 15 are: Winchester North and Sparsholt, 33, up 9, 37 per cent, 340.0 per 100,000; Oliver's Battery and Hursley, 31, up 4, 15 per cent, 379.2; Colden Common and Twyford, 26, up 7, 37 per cent, 272.9; Springvale and Itchen Abbas, 24, up 6, 33 per cent, 349.0.

Although the infection rate has been soaring, the number of people ill enough to be in hospital is still low. The most recent figures showed ten Covid patients under the care of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), with five in Basingstoke and five at the RHCH in Winchester.

The last death in the Winchester district was on March 3, 140 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 88 days, since April 22.

The vaccination rate in Winchester for first dose is 85.9 per cent, compared to 88.0 per cent nationally; for both doses Winchester is doing better with 69.8 per cent against 68.8 per cent nationally.