Number of people in hospital with Covid in England rises 22% in a week – The Guardian

Figure rises from 5,501 people on 7 December to 6,720 on 14 December, according to NHS data
The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in England has risen 22% in a week, the latest figures reveal.
There were 6,720 people in hospital with the virus on 14 December, up from 5,501 on 7 December, according to data released by NHS England.
The number of mechanical ventilation beds occupied by confirmed Covid patients rose from 129 to 150 over the same period.
The scale of the increase varies by region. The number of beds occupied by Covid patients in the south-west rose from 466 to 726, a 56% increase.
Prof David Strain of the University of Exeter Medical School, said most of those primarily being treated for Covid were eligible for an autumn booster vaccination but had not yet had the jab. “The hospitalisations are going up but there is also the knock on effect on staff,” he said.
Hospital admissions involving people with Covid have also risen. There were 5,250 in the seven days to 14 December, a 28% rise from the 4,113 in the previous week.
Some patients in hospital with Covid are likely to have been admitted for a different reason, but further data from NHS England reveals that the number of people primarily being treated for Covid in acute trusts increased by 17% between 6 and 13 December from 5,096 to 5,982.
The data chimes with figures from the Office for National Statistics that suggests Covid infection levels are on the rise in England again, with 1.73%, or 1 in 60, people in the community estimated to have the virus in the week ending 26 November, up from 1.60% the previous week.
The rise comes as the NHS is experiencing unprecedented industrial action, with nurses at many hospitals striking on 15 and 20 December and ambulance staff on 21 and 28 December.
Prof Mark Woolhouse, an expert on infectious diseases at Edinburgh University, said that while Covid cases were rising, the increase was “nothing like as explosive” as this time last year when the Omicron variant arrived, and that the obvious public health advice was to avoid others if you have symptoms of a cold.
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“Some people are choosing to wear masks, which do offer some protection, particularly the medical grade variety. Some may choose to test themselves before meeting up with others, particularly others in the vulnerable category,” he said.
“So there is a lot we can do to reduce the risk to ourselves and those around us if we choose, with having the booster vaccination when offered at the top of the list.”