29 March 2022

Three regions have highest number of Covid-19 patients for over a year

29 March 2022

A third region of England is reporting the highest number of people in hospital with Covid-19 for more than a year.

Eastern England has joined the South East and South West in recording patient levels last seen in February 2021, passing the peaks reached in the previous surge of infections at the start of 2022.

A total of 1,739 people with Covid-19 were in hospital in eastern England on March 29, the highest since February 17 last year, according to PA news agency analysis of NHS England data.

The South East has 2,199 patients, also the highest total since February 17 2021, while the South West England has 1,662, the highest since February 3 2021.

In all three regions around half of people in hospital with Covid-19 are being treated primarily for something other than coronavirus.

But the rise in patients testing positive – up 23% week-on-week in the South West, 12% in the South East and 9% in eastern England – is further evidence of the growing prevalence of the virus across the country.

All patients who test positive for Covid-19 need to be treated separately from those who do not have the virus, regardless of whether they are in hospital primarily for Covid, adding to pressures facing the NHS.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

The total number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in England currently stands at 15,411, up 18% week-on-week and the highest since January 19 this year.

In Scotland, patient levels have hit a new pandemic record, with 2,383 recorded on Monday.

Across the UK as a whole, 19,118 people with Covid were in hospital on March 28, up 17% week-on-week.

This is only just below the recent UK peak of 20,050 on January 10.

But it is well below the all-time UK record of 39,256, reached during the second wave of the virus on January 18 2021.

The Midlands looks like being the next region to pass its January 2022 peak, with 2,766 Covid patients on March 29 – close to the 3,155 reached on January 11.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

The rise in patient numbers is a result of the current surge in infections across most of the UK, driven by the Omicron BA.2 variant.

Figures published on Friday by the Office for National Statistics showed that infections in England are close to record levels, while Scotland and Wales have reached an all-time high.

Across the UK as a whole, 4.26 million people were likely to have had coronavirus in the week ending March 19 – just short of the 4.30 million in the first week of 2022, which was the highest total since estimates began.

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