The latest health briefing from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has been released. Amongst the figures within the fresh data is news that in weeks 10 and 11, lab reports of norovirus were almost double the five season average pre-Covid levels. Experts did however add that cases of the virus remain high.
The summary also shows that people aged 75 and over are still the group with the highest admittance rate to hospital with coronavirus. The figures do however show that admittance rates in all age groups have fallen. Over 75s, with those aged 75-84 have an admission rate of 45.5 per 100,000 population and those aged over 85 at 113.56 per 100,000.
The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 12 was 9.38 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 10.44 per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 continue to be the highest in the North East for the fifth consecutive week, with a rate of 13.65 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 16.38 per 100,000 in week 11.
Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “Older people, aged over 75, continue to be by far the largest group admitted to hospital due to severe illness from COVID-19. With the spring booster set to be rolled out by the NHS very soon, I would encourage all aged over 75 and others who are eligible to come forward and top up their protection as soon as possible when offered.”
Lesley Larkin, head of surveillance scientist for Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety Division at the UK Health Security Agency, said: "Norovirus cases are still high and those aged 65 and over and under 5s are the most vulnerable. We are seeing most of the outbreaks in care homes, so it’s really important we take steps to help stop the spread. If you or a family member have been sick with Norovirus you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, or return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.
"Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading. If unwell, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.”