20 October 2022

Rise in Covid-19 patients in England may have levelled off

20 October 2022

The current rise in the number of people in hospital in England with Covid-19 may have levelled off, new figures suggest.

A total of 10,387 patients testing positive for coronavirus were in hospital as of 8am on October 19, according to NHS England.

This is down 2% from 10,608 a week earlier.

Patient numbers have been rising steadily for just over a month, driven by a fresh wave of infections.

But the rate of increase has slowed in recent days, with the latest figures showing the first week-on-week fall since September 18.

It is too soon to know for sure if the numbers have peaked.

Covid-19 hospital data is published once a week on a Thursday, so it will be some time before enough data is available to see evidence of a clear trend.

Patient numbers topped 14,000 in mid-July of this year at the peak of the wave of infections caused by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the virus.

This was well below the levels seen during the early waves of the pandemic.

Around two-thirds of patients in hospital who test positive for Covid-19 are being treated primarily for something else.

But they need to be isolated from patients who do not have the virus, putting extra demands on staff already struggling to clear a record backlog of treatment.

Figures published last week by the Office for National Statistics showed that infections were rising in England at the start of this month.

The number of people in private households testing positive for coronavirus in the week to October 3 was 1.5 million, or around one in 35 – up from 1.1 million, or one in 50, in the previous week.

Infections in England peaked at 3.1 million during the summer BA.4/BA.5 wave.

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