Hospital admissions fall over 50% in a year, promising new figures say

Hospital admissions fall over 50% in a year, promising new figures on Omicron variant show… despite a surge in Covid cases

  • Despite a surge in cases, figures on Omicron’s severity are looking promisng
  • Hospitalisations are down by over half on this point last year despite case surge

The number of people in hospital with Covid in England is less than half the same time last year – despite cases being three times higher, official figures show.

In a further sign that the Omicron variant appears to result in less severe disease, there were 8,474 patients in hospital with Covid yesterday compared with 19,277 on the same day last year.

It represents a day-on-day increase of nearly 1,000 and is the highest since March 5. But health bosses say there have been no reports of large numbers of patients requiring ventilators like during last winter’s peak.

The most up-to-date figures reveal there were 842 Covid patients in intensive care on ventilators – the lowest level in two months.

Covid case numbers – which were updated for the first time since Christmas Eve – reveal 98,515 people in England tested positive yesterday. This is nearly four times higher than the 25,619 people who tested positive on the same day last year and is a considerable decrease on the 113,628 cases reported in England on Christmas Day.

The most up-to-date figures reveal there were 842 Covid patients in intensive care on ventilators – the lowest level in two months

It is also lower than the 103,558 cases reported on Boxing Day. The promising figures highlight the vaccine’s protective effects against severe illness, as well as the mounting evidence that Omicron is a milder strain.

A further 143 people in England died after testing positive for Covid yesterday – down 42 per cent on the 246 people who were reported to have died the same day last year.

And yesterday’s figure could be skewed by a recording lag, which saw no fatalities registered on Christmas Day and just three on Boxing Day.

Meanwhile data for London – which No10 has been watching closely – reveals there were 364 Covid hospital admissions across the capital on Christmas Day.

While this was a rise on the 278 hospitalisations reported on Christmas Eve, it is still lower than the 400 admissions per day thought to be the Government’s trigger point for imposing new restrictions.

Last night, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there had been 45,307 additional confirmed cases of the Omicron variant reported across the UK.

This brings the total confirmed cases of the variant in the UK to 159,932, but does not include any new information for Scotland and Northern Ireland which have not reported data since December 23.

The number of deaths in England of people with the Omicron variant has risen to 39, while hospital admissions for people with confirmed or suspected Omicron rose to 407.

Health bosses said that Covid admissions to hospitals were not rising ‘precipitately so’ but warned that it is still ‘far too early’ to dismiss concerns.

Health bosses said that Covid admissions to hospitals were not rising ‘precipitately so’ but warned that it is still ‘far too early’ to dismiss concerns

Chris Hopson, NHS Providers chief executive, said: ‘Trust leaders are watching their current hospital admissions data very closely.

‘Talking to chief executives this morning, the sense is that admissions are rising but not precipitately so. What’s particularly interesting is how many chief executives are talking about the number of asymptomatic patients being admitted to hospital for other reasons and then testing positive for Covid.

‘Trusts are not, at the moment, reporting large numbers of patients with Covid type respiratory problems needing critical care or massively increased use of oxygen, both of which we saw in January’s Delta variant peak.

‘We should therefore be cautious about over interpreting current Covid admission data.’

He added that trusts are ‘preparing for the worst and hoping for the best’.

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