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Number of Covid patients in hospital soars as restrictions are lifted

The number of coronavirus patients in hospital in the Black Country and Staffordshire has soared over the last three months, figures reveal.

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NHS England data shows 266 people were in hospital with Covid in the region on Tuesday, August 17.

It is a big rise from May, when coronavirus restrictions were still in place, and 36 people were in hospital.

The figures showed Covid admissions are rising faster at some hospitals than others in the region.

At Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross and Cannock Chase hospitals, the figure rose from 33 to 51 in the week to August 17.

There was a similar jump at University Hospitals North Midlands, which runs Stafford and Royal Stoke hospitals, from 33 to 55.

Numbers remained steady at other hospitals that week, though they are still high at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell and Birmingham City hospitals, where admissions rose from 92 to 94.

At Dudley Group NHS Trust, which runs Russells Hall, the total rose from 35 to 36 and at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Manor, it went from 25 to 30.

Covid patients at the hospitals were in single figures or low double figures in May.

Last month the fourth and last step of the Government's roadmap was also reached, when capacity limits for venues and events were scrapped and social distancing rules ended.

Across England there were 5,437 people in hospital with Covid as of August 17, with 825 of them in mechanical ventilation beds.

The number of Covid patients hospitalised nationally has increased more than seven-fold since May 18 and is 40 per cent higher than it was four weeks ago, when 3,894 people were in hospital with the virus.​

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has urged people not to delay getting their Covid vaccine, warning there were some “very sick” young adults in hospital with the virus.

His comments came as separate figures from Public Health England showed that 55 per cent of people in hospital with the Delta variant – which is dominant in the UK – have not been jabbed.

Of the coronavirus patients aged under 50, 74 per cent had not received a vaccination, while almost two-thirds of people who died were not jabbed.

Prof Whitty said: “The great majority of adults have been vaccinated.

“Four weeks working on a Covid ward makes stark the reality that the majority of our hospitalised Covid patients are unvaccinated and regret delaying.

"Some are very sick, including young adults.

“Please don’t delay your vaccine.”

The UK’s vaccine programme has so far seen around three-quarters of adults in the UK double-jabbed.