People have been asked to consider wearing face masks once again following a sharp rise in Covid-19 rates. Following a national trend, Plymouth has also seen a nearly 25 percent increase of people who have reported testing positive with the virus.
Shannon Brown www.plymouthherald.co.uk
This is the fourth week in a row hospital admission rates have increased for the virus, rising to an average of 9.4 admissions per 100,000 people in the week ending February 19, up from 7.9 per 100,000 in the previous week, according to NHS data. A total of 8,015 people were in hospital in England on February 22 who had tested positive for Covid-19, up 11% on the previous week and the highest since January 10.
Plymouth has seen an increase of 24.2 percent in the week ending February 18, according to the government’s coronavirus tracker. Over the seven days last week, 195 people in the city reported testing positive for the virus- an increase 38 on the previous week – with a case rate per 100,000 people in the city is 74.2.
Recent national rates of Covid hospitalisation over Christmas 2022 peaked at 11.8 per 100,000. 9,535 people were in hospital will the virus on December 29. Experts at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have asked people to reconsider wearing face masks to protect against airborne infection.
Across Devon, there are currently around 479 total Covid cases as of the week ending February 18. This is an increase of 16, or 3.5 percent. Per 100,000 residents in the county, there is an average of 59.1 new cases every week – Plymouth average rate is significantly higher.
Christmas Covid cases was one of the factors adding extra pressure on the NHS this winter, along with a sharp increase in cases of flu, a bed shortage, and staff sickness. Flu levels have fallen since early January, with an average of 638 flu patients in hospital beds each day last week, down from 738 over the previous week, and significantly reduced from the 5,441 people in hospital at the start of the year.
However, this is still well above the average of 29 patients at the same point last year. Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Covid-19 and flu are still in circulation. Hospital admission rates for Covid-19 are continuing to increase, particularly among those aged 65 and over.
“Although flu case rates remain relatively low, we have also seen a rise in hospital admission rates among the over-85s, who are at greater risk of severe illness. Simple actions can make a big difference in reducing the spread of these viruses.
“You can help by regularly washing your hands or staying at home and avoiding vulnerable people if you are unwell. If you do have to leave the house, please consider wearing a face covering, which can help prevent you passing respiratory viruses on.”