COVID-19: Hospital admissions and UK variant cases remain high despite decline - ONS

·2-min read

Admissions of COVID-19 patients to hospital and cases of the coronavirus variant discovered in the UK both appear to be on the decline, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

In the week ending 24 January, COVID-19 hospital admissions across the country fell to 33.51 per 100,000 people from a rate of 35.64 - the lowest of 2021 so far.

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Even though admissions are down, London is still one of the two regions experiencing the highest coronavirus rates of anywhere in England - along with the West Midlands, where rates are in fact on the up.

Rates also increased in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, but all other areas of England saw a small decline in coronavirus patients in the latest reporting period.

The number of people contracting the coronavirus variant discovered in the South East has remained stable or decreased in most areas of the country, apart from the East Midlands, where rates increased.

However, the variant is still accounting for the majority of infections across the country.

For infections in general, around one in 55 people in private households in England tested positive for COVID-19 between 17 and 23 January, which is similar to the previous week.

In Wales, the infection rate largely remained stable at around one in 70, while in Northern Ireland it was up slightly to one in 50 from one in 60.

In Scotland, around one in 110 people appeared to have had COVID-19 in the week to 23 January - down slightly from one in 100.

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Overall, the ONS say the percentage of people contracting COVID-19 still remains high, with London experiencing the highest infection rate in England, with one in 35 testing positive.

Sarah Crofts, senior statistician for the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey, said: "In England rates are level but remain high, with the estimated level of infection still over one million people.

"Infection rates across Wales and Scotland have remained level and in Northern Ireland rates of infection have begun to level off.

"The percentage of positive tests compatible with the new (UK) variant of the virus has increased in the East Midlands.

"Across other regions rates remained relatively stable or are declining."

The data is based on swabs taken from people in private households, with or without COVID-19 symptoms, and does not include care homes, hospitals or other institutional settings.