‘Concerning’ increases in COVID hospitalisations – with 250% rise in the South West

“Concerning” increases in COVID hospitalisations in the past week suggest a new wave of infections is underway, UK health officials have said.

There were 9,631 people in hospital with coronavirus as of 8am on 5 October – a 37% increase on last week’s 7,024.

This is also the highest figure since 3 August.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate in England is now 10.8 per 100,000 people – up from 7.5 the previous week.

In the age group with the most cases – those aged 85 or over – the figure is 132.3 per 100,000 people.

While officials have warned of a “twindemic” of COVID and flu this winter, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)’s weekly surveillance report still showed “low levels” of influenza activity.

According to his ZOE Health symptom-tracking app, Professor Tim Spector said common colds are rising faster than COVID cases.

COVID case rates and death rates, however, have still increased, according to the latest figures.

Commenting on the latest figures, Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at UKHSA, said: “This week’s data shows concerning further increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation rates, which are now at their highest level in months.

“Outbreaks in hospitals and care homes are also on the rise.”

She warned people with any symptoms of a respiratory virus to stay away from the elderly and vulnerable.

Three of nine regions nearly back to July peak levels

COVID hospital admissions increased in all English regions in the past week – with three out of nine almost back to levels seen during the July peak – when the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants surged.

In the South West, there were 1,003 patients in hospitals with coronavirus – nearly as many as the 1,229 at the summer peak.

The South East of England had 1,553 patients in hospital with COVID – compared to 1,985 at the summer peak.

And the East of England had 1,064 – not far off the 1,432 seen in July.

Although regular testing has been wound down, the latest ONS surveillance report suggests cases are rising again in the community.

As of 17 September, 857,400 people had COVID outside of a hospital or care home – one in 65 – up from one in 70 the previous week.

In the same week last year, COVID cases were decreasing – while during the same period in 2020 – cases were increasing nationally, suggesting it is too early to detect a seasonal trend.

Vulnerable groups, health and social care workers and everyone over 65 is now eligible for another booster jab.

The new bivalent vaccine protects against the original Wuhan strain and the Omicron variant.


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