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Hospital admissions with coronavirus (COVID-19)


The overall hospital admission rate of COVID-19-confirmed patients in England continued to decrease to 4.38 per 100,000 people in the week ending 20 November 2022. The intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admission rate remained low, at 0.17 per 100,000 people. Overall hospital admission rates decreased in most regions in England, while trends varied across age groups.

Overall hospital admissions, and ICU and HDU admissions presented in the Hospital admissions with COVID-19 section include all admissions with a positive COVID-19 test. This can include patients who tested positive for COVID-19 after being admitted to hospital or ICU and HDU for another reason.

We also present data on patients with COVID-19 as the primary reason for admission to hospital, and ICU and HDU, in the Hospital admissions for COVID-19 section.

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Hospital admissions with COVID-19

Overall hospital admissions continued to decrease, and ICU and HDU admissions involving COVID-19 remained low

Weekly overall COVID-19 -positive hospital admission rates and intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admission rates per 100,000 people, England, weeks ending 9 August 2020 to 20 November 2022

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Overall hospital admissions of COVID-19-confirmed patients in England continued to decrease to 4.38 per 100,000 people, and ICU and HDU admissions remained low at 0.17 per 100,000 people, in the week ending 20 November 2022.

Hospital admissions in the latest week are the lowest seen since the week ending 4 July 2021 and ICU and HDU admissions are the lowest seen since the week ending 13 June 2021.

The hospital admission rate for COVID-19-confirmed-patients is much lower now than earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, despite similar infection levels. You can read more about comparisons between infections, hospital admissions and deaths on our Comparisons page.

Last updated: 25/11/2022

Read more about this in UKHSA’s National flu and COVID-19 surveillance report

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Most patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19 were discharged

Outcomes for patients admitted to critical care with confirmed COVID-19 from 1 January to 30 September 2022, England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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A total of 5,972 patients were admitted to critical care with confirmed COVID-19 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between January and September 2022. Of these, around two-thirds (66%) were discharged, almost one in four (23%) died in critical care, and around 1 in 10 (11%) are either still in critical care or don’t yet have an outcome reported.

Of those who were discharged from critical care, the majority (85%) went on to be discharged from hospital completely. Around 1 in 13 (8%) patients discharged from critical care died in hospital.

The proportion of patients with COVID-19 who died in critical care is higher for those where COVID-19 was the primary reason for admission (33%) than for patients with COVID-19 listed as a secondary reason for admission (20%).

The proportion of patients admitted to critical care with confirmed COVID-19 who died in critical care has reduced over the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 4 in 10 (38%) dying between September 2020 and April 2021, and around 3 in 10 dying between May and December 2021 (31%). The figures for January to September 2022 include around 1 in 10 patients who are either still in critical care or no outcome has been reported, so cannot yet be compared with previous periods.

Last updated: 11/10/2022

Read more about this in the ICNARC report on COVID-19 in critical care: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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Hospital admissions by region

Hospital admissions decreased in most English regions

Estimated coronavirus (COVID-19) positivity rates, overall hospital admission rates with intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admissions, and number of deaths, by English regions, week ending 7 October to 20 November 2022

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Overall hospital admissions of COVID-19-confirmed patients decreased in most English regions in the week ending 20 November 2022. Hospital admissions increased in the East of England and remained similar in the East Midlands. ICU and HDU admissions remained low across most regions.

The infection rate continued to decrease in all English regions, except the North West and the South East where the trend was uncertain, in the week ending 15 November 2022.

Deaths involving COVID-19 registered in England continued to decrease to 478 in the week ending 11 November 2022.

There is a delay between a person becoming infected with COVID-19 and being admitted to hospital or dying, and this is reflected in the lags in trends. Deaths figures are the number of deaths registered in the time period. The number of deaths in each region will be affected by population size and do not necessarily reflect the rate of deaths.

The data used in the chart come from our Coronavirus Infection Survey, UKHSA's National flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports, and our Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional.

Last updated: 25/11/2022

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Hospital admissions by age

Hospital admissions remain highest for those aged 85 years and over

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Trends in overall hospital admission rates for COVID-19-confirmed patients in England varied across age groups in the week ending 20 November 2022. Rates decreased for those aged 5 to 14 years and those aged 45 years and over. However, they remained similar for groups aged 15 to 44 years and increased for those aged under 5 years.

ICU and HDU admission rates decreased, or remained low, across most age groups in the week ending 20 November 2022.

Overall hospital admissions were highest for those aged 85 years and over, and lowest for children aged 5 to 14 years. This has been consistent throughout the coronavirus pandemic. ICU and HDU admission rates were highest for those aged 75 years and over, and lowest for those aged 5 to 14 years. Although overall hospital admission rates have consistently been highest in the oldest age group, the highest ICU and HDU admission rates have varied across groups aged 55 years and over.

You can read about trends by age group for infections and deaths on our Comparisons page.

Last updated: 25/11/2022

Read more about this in UKHSA’s National flu and COVID-19 surveillance report

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Hospital admissions for COVID-19

Less than 4 in 10 patients in hospital in England with COVID-19 in October 2022 were being treated primarily for COVID-19

Percentage of patients in acute hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 who are being treated primarily for COVID-19, by English regions, 18 June 2021 to 31 October 2022

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Between June and December 2021, patients being treated primarily for COVID-19 accounted for around three-quarters (75%) of patients in acute hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 in England. The proportion being treated primarily for COVID-19 started to decline at the end of 2021 and has consistently been less than 4 in 10 since May 2022. The proportion of patients being treated primarily for COVID-19 was 36% in October 2022. This reflects the change from Delta being the dominant variant to Omicron being the dominant variant. For patients with confirmed COVID-19 where it was not the primary diagnosis, COVID-19 may or may not have contributed to the reason for admission.

The proportion of patients being treated primarily for COVID-19 varies across English regions. In October 2022, London continued to have the lowest proportion of patients with COVID-19 being treated primarily for COVID-19 (22%). The South West continued to have the highest proportion and is the only region with more than half of patients with COVID-19 being treated primarily for COVID-19 (52%). This has been consistent since March 2022.

The change between September and October 2022 in the proportion of patients with COVID-19 being treated primarily for COVID-19 also varied across the regions. The Midlands was the only region where the proportion increased (from 33% to 37%). The South East saw the largest decrease (from 50% to 42%). The proportion also decreased in the South West (from 55% to 52%) and the North West (from 37% to 35%), and remained similar in all other regions.

Regional differences may be partly explained by the age of the populations. The South West has the oldest population, with around 1 in 9 people aged 75 years or over. In comparison, around 1 in 19 people living in London are aged 75 years or over. Older people generally are at higher risk from COVID-19, therefore more likely to be treated in hospital primarily for COVID-19 than younger people.

Last updated: 08/11/22

Read more in NHS England’s weekly publication of COVID-19 admissions and bed occupancy data

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Around three quarters of patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19 in September 2022 were admitted primarily for other reasons

Number of COVID-19 confirmed critical care admissions with COVID-19 reported as primary versus secondary reason for admission, and percentage of critical care admissions with confirmed COVID-19 where COVID-19 was the primary reason for admission, England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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Between February 2020 and December 2021 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, patients for whom COVID-19 was the primary reason for admission to critical care accounted for more than 9 in 10 of all patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19. This trend started to change towards the end of December 2021 in the transition period between Delta being the dominant variant and Omicron being the dominant variant.

Between January and September 2022, when Omicron was the dominant variant, the majority of patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19 had other primary reasons for admission.

In January 2022, more than half (56%) of all patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19 were admitted with COVID-19 as the primary reason. The proportion has consistently decreased each month since then, with the exception of a slight increase in June 2022. In September 2022, around one in four patients (24%) admitted to critical care with COVID-19 were admitted primarily due to COVID-19. Around three-quarters (76%) were admitted with COVID-19 as a secondary reason. For patients with COVID-19 reported as a secondary reason for admission, COVID-19 may or may not have contributed to the reason for admission.

The number of patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19 as the primary reason has also fallen since January 2022, from 874 to 52 in September 2022.

Last updated: 11/10/22

Read more about this in the ICNARC report on COVID-19 in critical care: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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Further information


Data on overall hospital admissions, and ICU and HDU admissions presented here are collected by the UK Health Security Agency and available on the GOV.UK coronavirus dashboard and national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports. This data come from the Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) Watch surveillance system, which monitors the number of patients with confirmed flu and COVID-19 admitted to hospital and critical care units (ICU and HDU) in England. These data are provisional and subject to revision, and previous estimates may be updated in subsequent weeks.

To find out more about hospital admissions data visit our more information page.

More information on hospitals and health is available on each of the relevant nation's websites: Public Health Agency (PHA) for Northern Ireland, Public Health Scotland (PHS), and Public Health Wales (PHW).

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