Covid hospital admission rate falls for first time in two months

·2-min read
Ambulances outside a hospital (Stock image)  (PA Archive)
Ambulances outside a hospital (Stock image) (PA Archive)

The rate of Covid-19 admissions to hospitals in England has fallen for the first time in two months, in a fresh sign the latest wave of infections may have peaked.

Admissions to intensive care units (ICU) have also dropped, while the overall number of patients testing positive for the virus now appears to be on a downwards trend.

Covid-19 infection levels have been rising since the end of May, driven by the spread of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.

But hospital data suggests the impact of the current wave of the virus is starting to ease.

Hospital admissions in England of people with Covid-19 stood at 16.3 per 100,000 in the seven days to July 24, down from 18.2 the previous week.

It is the first time the admission rate has fallen week-on-week since the seven days to May 29.

The ICU admission rate has dropped from 0.7 per 100,000 people to 0.5 – again, the first week-on-week fall since the end of May.

The figures, which have been published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), show hospital admission rates are now dropping for all age groups, though they remain highest among the most elderly.

Admissions stood at 150.0 per 100,000 for people aged 85 and over in the week to July 24, down from 164.2 the previous week.

The total number of people in hospital in England who have tested positive for Covid-19 is currently 11,914, down 15% from a peak of 14,044 on July 18.

Patient numbers in the latest wave have not risen as high as they did during the two waves of infection earlier this year, both of which saw peaks above 16,000.

Numbers have also remained well below the peak reached during the Alpha wave of infections in January 2021, when more than 34,000 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital.

High prevalence of Covid antibodies among the population – either from vaccination or previous infection – means the number of people seriously ill or dying from the virus continues to be at a low level.

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