RESIDENTS  have been urged to remain vigilant as the number of coronavirus cases across Hampshire continues to rise.

A total of 258 Covid-19 cases were recorded across the Hampshire County Council area in the seven days up to October 5.

This brings the total of cases in the area to 6,251.

It comes as at the end of September the total number of cases across the county was 6,006.

Civic chiefs at Hampshire County Council said the numbers are below the national average but the increase is "concerning".

The number of reported cases has also gone up in Southampton in the past week.

According to data published by Southampton City Council, 94 new cases were recorded in the city last week.

This is 59 more cases than the week before.

Simon Bryant, director of public health at the county council, said the infection rate in the county stands at 18.5x100,000 population.

He said this is below the South East average of 24.2x100,000 and the national average of 80.5x100,000.

But talking to councillors at the meeting of the Hampshire Local Outbreak Engagement Board he said: "We are seeing an increase in cases week on week and we are below the national rate but that is concerning and we are monitoring that very carefully to take any action that is required."

A document published by the authority also revealed the Rushmoor district is the only one in Hampshire to have an infection rate higher than the national average.

Mr Byrant said that this is due to a more diverse community in the area and he said that work  is ongoing to ensure that messages are delivered to every member of the community.

Talking about the increase in cases across Hampshire he added: "We are seeing general increases in cases and an increased number of cases in education settings, not outbreaks but cases. We are seeing single cases in schools not outbreaks."

Meanwhile, last week the infection rate in Southampton was at 14.24x100,000.

The total of cases in the city since the start of the pandemic has now risen to 1,227.

Dr Debbie Chase, director of public health at Southampton City Council, said the increase in cases was expected.

She added: "Southampton’s rates reflect a growing number of positive cases being identified through widespread testing, as well as small numbers of linked cases that are classed as outbreaks. It also includes data from the large scale asymptomatic testing programme currently being piloted with the University of Southampton and four city schools. This is all taken into account when reviewing our Local Outbreak Control Plan. "

Dr Chase thanked city residents for "the sacrifices they’ve made" and urged everyone to continue to comply with the rules.