Work from home advice could be extended as Sajid Javid warns of rising hospitalisations

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Covid patients being treated for something else

Mr Javid’s intervention came as new figures revealed that a third of patients in hospitals in England with Covid are not being treated primarily for the virus.

Of the 8,321 patients with coronavirus in NHS acute trusts in England on December 28, 2,743, 33 per cent, of patients with Covid were being primarily treated for something else.

Some 5,578 patients, 67 per cent, were mainly being treated for Covid, down from 71 per cent a week earlier and 74 per cent at the start of December, according to official NHS data.

The number being treated primarily for Covid-19 rose by around a quarter from 4,432 on December 21 to 5,578 on December 28, while those with Covid-19 but who were being treated primarily for something else jumped by more than 51 per cent from 1,813 to 2,743.

It came as separate data released by the UKHSA on Friday revealed the risk of presenting at A&E or being admitted to hospital with the omicron variant was about half of that for delta.

In addition, the risk of hospitalisation for omicron was reduced by 81 per cent after three doses of a vaccine compared to unvaccinated cases, the agency said.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said that trust leaders were reporting that a lot of the patients being admitted were coming in with, rather than because of, Covid-19.

He said: “The proportion varies across the country but, as you’d expect, is higher where Covid community infection rates are higher. But we’d urge caution because we don’t yet have a detailed picture of what’s happening with older, more vulnerable patients.” 

Paul Hunter, the professor of medicine at University of East Anglia, said if omicron is causing less severe diseases, “it is probably also causing more asymptomatic infections”.

“So, a higher proportion of the population will be positive, so I suspect some of [the hospitalisations]… is because of people being admitted for something else and then subsequently just happening to be positive,” he said.

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