COVID continues to spread across the Winchester district but fewer people are in hospital, according to the latest figures.

Two deaths have been reported in the district over Christmas, bringing the death toll to 184 since March 2020.

And Winchester residents are taking up the booster jabs in high numbers with 60.1 per cent having the booster compared to the national rate of 56.5 per cent.

On Christmas Eve, the most recent day for which figures are available, there were 39 patients in the hospitals operated by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: 20 in Winchester, 18 in Basingstoke and one in Andover, down from 43 the previous week, and 45 the week before that.

This would indicate that the Omicron variant, although more contagious, is less dangerous than the previous dominant strain, Delta. The most recent Omicron figures for Winchester district, from several days before Christmas, show 177 cases, with 51 suspected, although the numbers will now be far higher.

The level of staff sickness at the NHS trust is unavailable, although the Chronicle has asked for details. Experts are saying that staff sickness could be a bigger problem than Covid patient numbers.

Covid had been rising in all 14 parts of the district for the first time this year but is now falling in three areas: Winchester North and Sparsholt, previous hotbed Sutton Scotney, South Wonston and Micheldever and Wickham, Knowle and Whiteley.

Winchester is still the worst affected local authority area in Hampshire, with 1,300 cases per 100,000 people, the highest this year.

Parts of the city have taken over from villages north of Winchester as the current hotspots, including Winchester West (Weeke and Fulflood), Winchester Central and South and Stanmore.

In the week to December 22, 1,638 cases were reported, a rise of 392, or 30 per cent, on the previous seven days. That compares to a week-on-week rise of 458 (57 per cent) last Monday and 122 on January 5 during the previous peak.


The most recent Covid numbers for Winchester district

The most recent Covid numbers for Winchester district


It would appear that the recent sharp increases are beginning to ease.

The breakdown of the Covid cases in the 14 areas of Winchester in the seven days to Wednesday December 22, the most recent day for which localised figures are available, is:

First: Winchester West (Weeke and Fulflood), 188 cases, up 77 (69 per cent) 1,888 per 100,000 people;

Second is Stanmore, 124 cases, up 58 (88 per cent), 1,791 per 100,000;

Third: Springvale and Itchen Abbas with 113 cases, up six (6 per cent) with 1,646 per 100,000;

Fourth: Winchester Central and South, 178 cases, up 84 (89 per cent), 1,589 per 100,000;

Fifth: South Wonston, Sutton Scotney and Micheldever, 90 cases, down 25 (22 per cent) with 1,520 cases per 100,000 people;

Sixth: Winchester East (Winnall, Highcliffe, St Giles Hill and Bar End), 114 cases, up 50 (78 per cent), 1,405;

Seventh: Oliver's Battery and Hursley, 114 cases, up 38, (50 per cent), 1,393;

Eighth: Winchester North and Sparsholt with 135 cases, down five (4 per cent) with 1,381 per 100,000;

Ninth: Alresford, 93 cases, up 17 (22 per cent), 1,096;

Tenth: Colden Common and Twyford, 103 cases, up 13 (14 per cent), 1,074;

Eleventh: Swanmore, West Meon and Hambledon, 91 cases, up 25 (38 per cent), 1,033;

Twelfth: Denmead and Southwick, 109 cases, up 39 (56 per cent), 1,030;

Thirteenth: Bishop's Waltham and Waltham Chase, 99 cases, up 19 (24 per cent), 1,010;

Fourteenth: Wickham, Knowle and Whiteley, 87 cases, down 14 (14 per cent) 740.

Numbers rose at the university in the run-up to Christmas, which has students living in mainly Winchester West, Winchester Central and South and Stanmore. There were 66 cases, with nine new ones and 31 linked to the campus.

READ MORE HERE: The Chronicle's previous Covid story. How does your district compare?