Number of Covid-19 hospital patients in England at five-month high
The number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 in England has climbed to its highest level for five months.
A total of 5,514 patients were in hospital on August 18, according to the latest figures from NHS England.
This is up 9% from the previous week and is the highest since March 16, according to analysis by the PA news agency.
Hospital numbers have been rising slowly for the last few months as a result of the third wave of coronavirus, which began in England at the end of May.
The increase had levelled off in recent weeks, but numbers have started climbing again in the past few days.
The figures reflect a similar-shaped trend in the number of new cases of coronavirus, which spiked sharply in England in mid-July, began to fall and then levelled off, before starting to rise once more.
Trends in the number of new Covid-19 cases typically take a short while to show up in the hospital data, due to the length of time between someone testing positive for coronavirus and then becoming ill enough to require hospital care.
The latest figures also show that three regions currently have more than 1,000 hospital patients with Covid-19: London (1,090); the combined region of north-east England and Yorkshire (1,082); and the Midlands (1,067).
The last time any three regions of England each had more than 1,000 Covid-19 patients was mid-March.
All regions are currently recording a week-on-week increase in patients, with the biggest rise in south-east England (up 18%).
Patient numbers are still well below levels seen at the peak of the second wave, however.
A total of 34,336 Covid-19 patients were in hospital in England on January 18, the highest at any point since the pandemic began.
The current total of 5,514 is roughly one-sixth of this peak.
Meanwhile, the number of daily hospital admissions of patients with Covid-19 stood at 776 on August 16.
This is the highest since 816 admissions on July 27.
The number of admissions includes all patients admitted to hospital in the previous 24 hours who were known to have Covid-19, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the same previous 24 hours.
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