The number of Covid-19 patients in some major hospital trusts in England has climbed back to around a third of the level seen at the peak of the second wave of the virus, new figures show.
South Tyneside & Sunderland Foundation Trust reported 78 patients with Covid-19 on July 13 – the equivalent of 31% of its second-wave peak of 251.
The neighbouring Gateshead Health Foundation Trust reported 43 Covid-19 patients on the same day, or 30% of its second-wave peak of 141.
Levels are even higher in two of the largest trusts in north-west England.
Bolton Foundation Trust had 58 Covid-19 patients in hospital on July 13, 36% of its second-wave peak, while Manchester University Foundation Trust had 146 patients, 38% of its second-wave peak.
Elsewhere, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust is at 30% of its second-wave peak, with 58 Covid-19 patients, while Newcastle Upon Tyne Foundation Trust is at 27%, with 44 Covid-19 patients.
The figures have been compiled by the PA news agency from NHS England data.
They show how the third wave of coronavirus cases, which began in the UK at the end of May, is now having a growing impact on hospital admissions.
North-east England is currently the regional hotspot of the third wave and is recording its highest rate of new Covid-19 cases since comparable figures began in summer 2020, when mass testing was first introduced across the UK.
It also has the highest infection rate of any region, with an estimated one in 40 people in private households likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to July 10, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
These figures are reflected in the latest data on hospital admissions from Public Health England which shows the North East had the highest admission rate of any region in the week to July 11, at 10.5 per 100,000 people.
This is the highest admission rate for the region since the week to February 21, and compares with a rate of 4.4 per 100,000 for the whole of England.
North-west England was the hotspot for cases at the start of the third wave, but now has the second highest regional infection rate, with around one in 55 people likely to have tested positive for Covid-19 in the most recent week.
The rate of new cases in the North West is currently the highest since mid-January.
The total number of Covid-19 hospital patients in England stood at 3,367 as of July 16, according to the latest available figures from NHS England.
This is up 43% on the previous week and is the highest since March 29.
Patient numbers peaked at 34,336 on January 18.