How far have Covid-19 patient numbers fallen in hospitals in England?

Ian Jones, PA

It is a month since England was put into its third lockdown on January 5.

During that time the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 rose from 26,467 on January 5 to a record 34,336 on January 18, before falling to the current level of 25,334 as of February 4.

This is still well above the number of patients on the day England came out of its second lockdown, however.

On that date, December 2, patient numbers stood at 13,212 – higher than the 10,994 on November 5 when the second lockdown began.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA graphic)

While the overall picture for England is starting to look promising, there is still a long way to go until patient levels are back to where they were, before the second wave began in the autumn.

What about the situation in each of the regions of England – and for individual hospital trusts?

Here is an overview of the latest numbers, based on data published by NHS England:

– London

Patient numbers in London are down 34% from their second-wave peak, and are now lower than before the third lockdown began.

As of 8am on February 4, 5,212 Covid-19 hospital patients were recorded in the capital. The day the third lockdown began, January 5, the number stood at 6,816. It went on to peak at 7,917 on January 18.

The current total of 5,212 is the lowest since December 28, but this is still well above the number recorded on the day the second England-wide lockdown ended on December 2 (1,637).

It is also some way above the total on the day the second lockdown began, November 5 (1,102).

All acute hospital trusts in London that reported Covid-19 patients on February 2 are below their second-wave peak, with some recording steep drops – for example Barking, Havering & Redbridge Trust, which had 276 patients on February 2, down 47% from its second-wave peak of 518 on January 11; and Barts Health Trust, which had 597 patients on February 2, down 29% from its second-wave peak of 835 on January 14.

– South-east England

South-east England is also currently recording its lowest number of Covid-19 patients since December 28: 3,632, down 35% from its second-wave peak of 5,577 on January 13.

On December 2, the day the second lockdown ended, the number stood at 1,481.

It was even lower on November 5, the day the second lockdown began: 770.

All acute trusts that reported Covid-19 patients on February 2 were below their second-wave peak, however.

In two trusts, the total had dropped by more than a half: East Kent Hospitals University Trust, where the number of patients was down from a peak of 460 on January 4 to 215 on February 2, and Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells Trust, where the number had fallen from a peak of 334 on January 4 to 139 on February 2.

HEALTH Coronavirus Hospitals
(PA graphic)

– Eastern England

In Eastern England the total number of patients stood at 3,052 on February 4, down 29% from its second-wave peak of 4,306 on January 13 and the lowest number since January 1.

Back on November 5, when the second lockdown began, the number stood at just 611. It was slightly higher on December 2, the day the second lockdown ended: 1,014.

All acute trusts in eastern England that reported patients on February 2 were below their second-wave peak, including West Suffolk Trust (down 51% from their peak) and Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (down 52%).

– South-west England

The number of patients in south-west England is still slightly higher than when the third lockdown began on January 5. The total as of February 4 stood at 1,640: down 31% from a peak of 2,366 on January 18, but above the 1,414 recorded on January 5.

South-west England has often recorded the lowest number of Covid-19 hospital patients of any region in England. The total on November 5, the day the second lockdown began, was just 555. It was 926 when the second lockdown ended on December 2.

One acute trust in the region is still reporting a record number of Covid-19 patients: Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, which had 105 patients on February 2, the highest daily total in the pandemic so far.

All other acute trusts where data is available are currently below their second-wave peak.

– Midlands

Patient numbers for the whole of the Midlands remain above the level on January 5 when the third lockdown began. As of February 4 the number stood at 4,986: down 22% from a peak of 6,380 on January 21, but above the 4,553 on January 5.

The number is also well above the level recorded both at the start (2,339) and end (3,054) of the second lockdown.

All acute trusts reporting Covid-19 patients on February 2 are below their second-wave peak, though University Hospitals Birmingham Trust – one of the largest in the country – is just 14% below, with 854 patients on February 2 compared with a peak of 990 on January 24.

Another large trust, University Hospitals of Leicester, is now 17% below its peak, with 416 patients on February 2 compared with 499 on January 25.

HEALTH Coronavirus Hospitals
(PA graphic)

– North-west England

Patient numbers in north-west England peaked at 4,346 very recently, on January 26. They have since fallen by 18% to 3,557 on February 4, the lowest since January 10 but still above the number when the third lockdown began on January 5 (2,925).

North-west England was already seeing a near-record number of patients when the second lockdown began on November 5 (2,815, compared with a first wave peak on April 13 of 3,065). The number rose to a then-record 3,158 on November 16. By the time the second lockdown ended on December 2 the number had fallen to 2,368.

The total number of patients in the region was last below 2,000 on October 19.

All acute trusts that had Covid-19 patients on February 2 were below their second-wave peak. The largest, Liverpool University Hospitals Trust, had 480 patients, down 16% from a peak of 569 reported on January 26.

– North-east England/Yorkshire

This region also saw a surge in patients during October and November, with a new record of 3,473 set on November 16. This was surpassed in January before peaking at 3,891 on January 25. Since then patient numbers have fallen 16% to stand at 3,255 on February 4 – the lowest since January 10.

All acute trusts reporting Covid-19 patients on February 2 were below their second-wave peak, though the decrease varies across the region.

Some trusts had their second-wave peak in late November – for example, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, which reported 219 patients on February 2, down 34% from 331 on November 22. By contrast, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust is down just 9%, from a peak of 417 on January 22 to 380 on February 2.

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