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Covid-19 in Greater Manchester: spike in people in hospital prompts concern about Omicron variants

Health experts say the rise in cases and hospitalisations is largely among older people and they are monitoring the impact of the variants Omicron BA.4 and Omicron BA.5

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 across Greater Manchester has risen sharply.

Figures analysed by our sister title NationalWorld show increases at hospitals in the city-region between the week ending 12 June and the previous one up to 5 June.

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Some trusts have seen the number of people in beds with the novel coronavirus more than double in that space of a week.

Health chiefs say the rise in cases is largely among the older population and it is encouraging that it does not seem to have led to more pressure on intensive care units (ICUs).

What does the data show for Greater Manchester?

The figures from the UK coronavirus dashboard show significant rises in people with Covid-19 in hospital at trusts across Greater Manchester between the week ending 5 June and the one ending 12 June.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust saw its patients with the coronavirus rise from 13 to 49 - an increase of 277%.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust had a 65% rise from 37 to 61, while at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust it was a 125% increase from 24 to 54.

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust had a 56% rise in patients with Covid-19 from 16 to 25.

Tameside and Glossop NHS Foundation saw a 150% jump, with patient numbers with the coronavirus going up from 12 to 30.

The North West as a whole had a 55% rise in hospital admissions between the week ending 7 June and the one up to 14 June, from 479 patients to 741.

The rate of new admissions for the most recent week of date across the region was 10.5 people per 100,000 residents. This was the highest rate of any of England’s seven regions.

What have the health authorities said?

Most cases in the UK are still caused by the Omicron BA2 variant, originally dubbed ‘Stealth Omicron’, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data shows.

But health chiefs are monitoring the impact of the variants Omicron BA.4 and Omicron BA.5, which were designated variants of concern in the UK on 20 May.

Dr Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programmes at the UKHSA, said: “After a period of low case rates, we are now seeing increases in outbreaks within care homes and in hospitalisations among those aged 80 years and over.

“It is encouraging that we are not seeing an increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions but we are monitoring data closely and assessing the possible impact of subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

“As we enter summer, it’s still important to remember that Covid-19 has not gone away and to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus. If you’re not yet up to date with your jabs please come forward now – it’s not too late to get protected.

“Remember to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.

“If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.”