HAMPSHIRE County Council has said delays are a "serious concern" after admitting earlier today that this week's coronavirus case figures for the county are lower than the true number.

In a tweet, the council said: "A lag in the receipt of test results means this week's data is an underestimate of lab confirmed cases and should be treated with caution."

The data, updated on Monday, September 21, suggests there were 107 new positive cases in Hampshire, with 67 recorded across the weekend alone.

However, this new information means the actual number could be much higher.

This week's figures saw Hampshire record 7.3 cases per 100,000 population, compared to 33.8 per 100,000 across England as a whole.

When asked whether the lab delays were a concern for people in Basingstoke, Maria Miller MP did not comment on the county council’s announcement, but said: “It is crucial that everyone plays their role in reducing infection levels and keeping them low. Here in Basingstoke the work of the NHS, public health, local authorities and Police have helped ensure we have a relatively low rate of Coronavirus infection at the moment.

“I have asked Hampshire County Councils Public Health team if more could be done to help people better identify the symptoms of the virus so that the tests are focused on those who need them.”

Basingstoke Labour representative, Cllr Andrew McCormick, said: “It concerns me a bit, but we are where we are with testing. Personally, I think we should be testing a lot more.

“The government has been retaining control of that. If we had more localised control, we might have got something together.”

“It is not worth panicking about it. The results were widely off six months ago and they still are. Back in March we probably had 10 times the number infected than we tested. Even if we tested everyone with symptoms, there could be people without symptoms.

"I would like to see the county council take steps to ensure accurate data, but I am not sure if they can because they are on the receiving end too.

"My concern is that the government could be repeating the same mistakes they made six months ago.”

Cllr Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “We know that due to high demand, some Hampshire residents are experiencing delays in securing a test via the national booking system, or getting their results back, but it’s imperative that anyone with symptoms absolutely must come forward to get tested as this will help to stop the spread of the virus

“While the number of confirmed cases in Hampshire remains relatively low compared with the England average, the delays some people are experiencing is a serious concern, and we therefore want to do all we can to support local residents to secure a test quickly and easily – we will continue therefore to urge Government for greater local control over local Test and Trace capacity.”