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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 5.68 per 100,000 people and the intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admission rate remained very low at 0.19 per 100,000 people in the week ending 22 May 2022. Hospital admission rates decreased in most age groups and regions in the latest week.

Overall hospital admissions, and ICU and HDU admissions presented on this page 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.

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Hospital admissions

Overall hospital admissions involving COVID-19 continued to decrease, and ICU and HDU admissions remain very 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 22 May 2022

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Overall hospital admissions of COVID-19-confirmed patients decreased to 5.68 per 100,000 people, and ICU and HDU admissions remained very low at 0.19 per 100,000 people in the latest week (ending 22 May 2022). ICU and HDU admissions are now at their lowest level since June 2021.

Infection levels in the latest week are similar to the week ending 30 January 2021, shortly after the Alpha variant peak. In that week, the overall hospital admission rate was over four times higher (24.71 per 100,000 people) and the ICU and HDU admission rate was over ten times higher (1.96 per 100,000 people, week ending 31 January 2021) than in the latest week.

Last updated: 27/05/2022

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

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COVID-19 is no longer the most common primary reason for admission for those in critical care with a positive COVID-19 test

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 2022 and March 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 March 2022, one-third of patients (33%) admitted to critical care with COVID-19 were admitted primarily due to COVID-19 and two-thirds (67%) 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 fell from 761 in January 2022 to 193 in March 2022.

You can read about the vaccination status of patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19 on our Vaccines page.

Last updated: 20/05/2022

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

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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 May 2021 to 31 March 2022, England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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A total of 16,727 patients were admitted to critical care with confirmed COVID-19 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between May 2021 and March 2022. Of these, around two-thirds (67%) were discharged, almost one in three (30%) died in critical care and 3% are still in critical care.

Of those who were discharged from critical care, the majority (89%) went on to be discharged from hospital completely. Around 1 in 16 (6%) patients discharged from critical care are still in hospital and 4% died in hospital.

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.

Last updated: 20/05/2022

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 age

Hospital admissions and deaths were highest among older people

Estimated percentage of the population testing positive for COVID-19 in the week ending 21 May 2022, hospital admission rates in the week ending 22 May 2022, and deaths registered in the week ending 13 May 2022, by age, England

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Infections decreased in all age groups, except those aged 25 to 34 years, where the trend was uncertain in the latest week (ending 21 May 2022). Infections were highest in those aged 25 to 34 years, and lowest for those in school Years 7 to 11.

Hospital admission rates decreased across all age groups, except those aged 5 to 14 years, where the rate remained similar in the latest week (ending 22 May 2022). Rates are the lowest seen in 2022 for most age groups. The largest decrease was for those aged 85 years and over. However, admission rates remained highest in this group. Admission rates were lowest for those aged 5 to 14 years.

The number of deaths involving COVID-19 decreased or remained similar across most age groups. Deaths increased in those aged 65 to 74 years (ending 13 May 2022). Deaths were highest in those aged 85 years and over (324 deaths) and lowest in those aged 15 to 24 years, where there were none.

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: 27/05/2022

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COVID-19-positive admissions remain below January 2021 peak levels in all age groups

COVID-19-positive hospital admissions as a percentage of the rate during the January peak (rate in week ending 17 January 2021 = 100%), by age, England

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Hospital admission rates decreased in all age groups, except those aged 5 to 14 years, where the rate remained similar in the week ending 22 May 2022. Rates are below the peak levels from 17 January 2021 in all age groups. For groups aged 25 years and over, rates are now less than one fifth of the January 2021 peak levels. The overall admission rate continued to be highest in those aged 85 years and over and lowest in those aged 5 to 14 years.

The age differences between current rates and those seen in January 2021 likely reflect vaccine uptake in different age groups and the age prioritisation of the vaccination booster programme in England.

Last updated: 27/05/2022

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

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Hospital admissions by region

Infections, hospitalisations and deaths 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, 2 April to 22 May 2022

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Infection rates continued to decrease in the North West, East Midlands, East of England, London and the South West. Trends were uncertain in all other English regions in the week ending 21 May 2022. Overall hospital admission rates decreased across all English regions, except for the North East, where it increased in the week ending 22 May 2022. ICU and HDU admissions remained very low across all regions. Deaths involving COVID-19 decreased in five out of nine English regions in the week ending 13 May 2022.

There is a delay between a person becoming infected with COVID-19 and being admitted to hospital or dying. Therefore, we expect changes in trends in overall hospital admissions, ICU and HDU admissions and deaths to be observed later than changes in infections. Infections refer to the percentage testing positive and hospital admissions show rates per 100,000 people in each NHS catchment trust area. 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 bulletin.

Last updated: 27/05/2022

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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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Contact

Latest insights team
infection.survey.analysis@ons.gov.uk