Covid hospital patients in England up by 37 per cent

Hospital admissions continue to grow as experts warn ‘NHS is already on its knees’

<p>Covid hospital admissions continue to rise with more than 7,800 in NHS beds  across England </p>

Covid hospital admissions continue to rise with more than 7,800 in NHS beds across England

Hospital beds taken up by Covid patients have surged by 37 per cent, as experts warn the UK has entered its fifth wave.

The number of Covid positive patients in hospitals across England has jumped to 7,822 – up by more than 2,000 in a week.

As of Monday, the number of patients in critical care jumped to 192 – up from 150 the week prior, according to NHS data.

The figures come as experts warned the NHS could be overwhelmed.

Professor Tim Spector, of the ZOE Covid symptom study app, told The Independent: “We’re in a wave at the moment ... heading towards a quarter of a million cases a day, that’s a wave already...

“Having our NHS, which is already on its knees, working like it’s in the middle of winter, we’re getting up to 1,000 hospitalisations a day now, it’s not good news, that figure is going to go up.”

The increase in Covid patients across hospitals comes amid wider pressures on NHS beds, such as delayed discharges, which are driving record waits in A&E.

Cases of Covid in the community have increased sharply in recent weeks, with figures last week showing 1.7 million people testing positive across the UK, a 23 per cent increase on the week before. The increase is being driven by the recent BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron.

Prof Spector warned large summer events such as Glastonbury and Notting Hill Carnival could have a big effect on Covid rates.

According to an analysis by John Roberts, a Covid-19 data expert from the Covid Actuaries Response Group, weekly growth rate for admissions reached 40 per cent on Monday, compared to a 30 per cent growth last week.

He said on Twitter: “To put that rate of growth in context we are now around one doubling away from the peaks we saw for BA.1 and BA.2 admissions earlier this year. That would represent the third such peak in six months, much faster than previous waves.”

On Friday the Commons science committee published a letter from health secretary Sajid Javid on 9 June which said while the UK is “well placed” to deal with future Covid variants “it is possible that a contingency response could be required”.

Setting out details of its contingency response claimed it would be able to scale up universal Covid testing within four weeks, should ministers decide it is needed.

The letter said the UK Health Security Agency would be able to scale up PCR testing to between 100,000 and 140,000 a day within two weeks and reimplement contact tracing within 21 days.

Responding to the rising Covid cases on Monday, a spokesperson for the government said: “So we are obviously seeing the emergence of two Omicron variants, which are likely to be the driving cause for the rise in cases. The latest data suggests that these are now the dominant strains in the UK.

“But so far vaccination means that those rising cases haven’t translated into a rise of severe illness or death with no increase in intensive care unit admissions.

“As you would expect UKHSA continues to assess all the available data. We set out some time ago the plan for living with Covid and we will continue to utilise that plan and look at how we can provide more protection for people later this year with things like boosters, which we’ve spoken about previously.”

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