COVID hospital admissions in England rose by 50 per cent in the week before Christmas – but a THIRD went in for other health problems.
Around 33 per cent of all Covid positive people in hospital were found to have the virus as a secondary issue, fresh data showed today.
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It means, while cases and admissions have risen, a large chunk of them were not serious enough to end up in hospital but ended up there for other reasons.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
New data released today from NHS England showed on December 18 there were 709 new Covid patients in hospitals, and by December 26 the number had risen to 1,338.
But the figures also backs up expert studies showing Omicron is milder than other Covid variants, as only a small proportion have so far needed critical care.
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The number of patients in critical wards in England increased by 17 in the week on from December 21, and one more person was logged as needing a ventilator – although these numbers fluctuated within those seven days.
All beds taken up with Covid patients increased by 38 per cent in the week up to December 28, but again, this includes those who didn’t go to hospital originally with the virus.
This is the key Covid data that will sway Boris Johnson’s decision on whether to slam on restrictions in the New Year.
Infection levels in the UK have risen to record heights in recent weeks, but the Government has so far resisted any more rules – trusting boosters and regular testing.
But it is the hospitalisations and the rate of increase that are the crunch numbers which could see Britain plunged one way or the other.
The PM is expected to announce next week if tighter measures will be imposed to wrestle the spread of Omicron after mulling over the fresh stats.
Mr Johnson last night promised the country is in an “incomparably better” position that last year to fight Covid.
He is keeping an especially close eye on hospitalisations amid warnings the NHS is coming under strain.
The number of Covid patients in wards rose to 11,452 yesterday – up 61 per cent on last week to the highest level since February.
The PM pleaded in his New Year Eve address: “I want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated.
“The people who think the disease can’t hurt them, look at the people going into hospital now. That could be you.
“Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless suffering of those who did not get their booster. That could be you.
“So, make it your New Year’s resolution. Find a walk-in centre or make an online appointment. Get that jab and do something that will make 2022 a happy New Year for us all.”
NHS chiefs believe the threshold for imposing new restrictions has not yet been crossed.
But Chris Hopson, head of NHS providers, this morning warned curbs should be clamped on “at real speed” if hospitals come under severe strain.
He told the BBC: “We know that the government has set a high threshold on introducing extra new restrictions.
“So on that basis, trust leaders can see why the government’s arguing that in the absence of a surge of seriously ill patients coming into hospital, that threshold hasn’t yet been crossed.
“But we still don’t know if the surge will come and indeed we’re exactly talking about the preparations that we’re making or that surge right now.
“So in terms of restrictions, I think we’re in exactly the same place we’ve been in for the last fortnight, which is the government needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed.”