Covid in Leeds: Rising rates and hospital admissions in new Omicron wave as experts warn of 'waning immunity'

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The number of Covid-19 patients in Leeds hospitals has risen, as the new wave of Omicron has seen admission rates soar across the UK.

At least 128 coronavirus patients were being cared for by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs the city’s St James’ and Leeds General Infirmary hospitals – as of Tuesday, according to new NHS England data.

The figures show the number of people being treated in hospital for Covid-19, by 8am on July 5, had risen from 93 (27 per cent) when compared with the same day one week ago.

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Covid rates in Leeds and across the UK are rising.Covid rates in Leeds and across the UK are rising.
Covid rates in Leeds and across the UK are rising.

And the number of beds at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust occupied by people who tested positive for Covid-19 more than quadrupled in the last four weeks – 28 days ago, there were 28.

The national picture

Meanwhile, across England there were 11,049 people in hospital with Covid as of July 5, with 229 of them in mechanical ventilation beds.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised nationally has more than doubled in the last four weeks, while the number on mechanical ventilators has increased by 97 per cent.

The figures also show that 121 new Covid patients were admitted to hospital in Leeds in the week to July 3. This was up from 73 in the previous seven days.

New wave of Omicron

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Health experts have warned the numbers are likely to carry on rising throughout July, driven by a "substantial amount" of waning immunity among older people.

The figures are the latest evidence of how the virus is becoming more prevalent, with the potential to add further pressure on hospital staff already trying to clear a record backlog of operations.

The current wave is being driven by the variants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, which are now the dominant strains of Covid-19 in the UK and are more transmissible than the BA.2 variant that caused infection levels to reach an all-time high earlier in the year.

The rate of hospital admissions in England of people testing positive for Covid-19 stood at 14.6 per 100,000 last week, up from 11.1 the previous week, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

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Admissions to intensive care units (ICU) stood at 0.4 per 100,000, up from 0.3.

Both sets of figures are the highest since the middle of April.

Hospital admissions remain highest among over-85s, at 126.2 per 100,000 people, followed by 75 to 84-year-olds (59.3) and 65 to 74-year-olds (24.0).

ICU admissions are highest for people aged 75 to 84, at 1.2 per 100,000.

‘Waning immunity’

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Dr Mary Ramsay, UKHSA director of clinical programmes, said: "We continue to see Covid-19 case rates and hospitalisations rise in all age groups, with the largest increases in hospitalisations and ICU admissions in those aged 75 and older.

"There is likely to be a substantial amount of waning immunity in older people who have not taken up the booster on schedule, so we can expect these rises to continue over the coming weeks and throughout July.

"Vaccination remains the best defence against severe disease and we urge anyone who is eligible for the spring booster to take it up."