MORE than 6,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Hampshire since the start of the pandemic, according to new figures published for the first time.

The total number of positive Covid-19 cases across Hampshire has reached 4,990 while a further 915 cases were confirmed in Southampton and 492 in Portsmouth.

The data – which were published on July 2 – is the culmination of tests done throughout the pandemic to date.

Th figures are higher than those released on July 1, when the overall number of cases of Covid-19 was confirmed as 4,330 in Hampshire, 613 in Southampton and 325 in Portsmouth.

But the increase comes as on July 2 the government released for the first time new figures including data referring to testings in wider settings.

Up until July 1, only ‘Pillar 1’ testing, positive Covid-19 tests at hospitals and in laboratories, were released.

But following calls to release more comprehensive figures, on July 2 for the first time the government included data from ‘Pillar 2’ testing – mass swab testing for the wider population including key workers in the NHS, care homes and other sectors.

Cllr Lorna Fielker, cabinet member for health and adult care at Southampton City Council, said: “Southampton (as a local authority area) has a current weekly COVID-19 positive testing rate of 0.4 per 100,000 population.

"To put this in context that means about one positive test result per day in Southampton at the moment.

"For comparison, Leicester currently shows a rate of 143.3 per 100,000 population. Since the beginning of March, there have been just over 900 positive COVID-19 test results in Southampton.

"We have seen a steady overall decline in the number of positive test results over time in our city, even with the addition of the NHS test and trace programme (Pillar 2) at the end of May. So, we are in a low risk situation at the moment in Southampton.”

But Cllr Fielker stressed that the city cannot afford to be complacent.

She added: “With this in mind, we have published our Outbreak Control plan. This details how we intend to both reduce risk of infection and how we will respond to local outbreaks. It’s so important that we all continue to observe social distancing guidance, wash our hands frequently and, should we get symptoms, isolate immediately and contact the NHS Track & Trace programme or call 111 for advice.”

As reported, earlier this week Hampshire County Council also published its Outbreak Control Plan.

Some of the measures set to be implemented as part of the plan could include delivering tests to isolated people, establishing local pop-up sites or hosting mobile testing units at ‘high-risk’ locations such as factories.

Following the release of new figures on July 2, Hampshire County Council has been approached for comment but it was unable to provide one before the paper went to press.