The rate of Covid-19 admissions to hospitals in England has fallen for the third week in a row, in fresh evidence the current wave of infections is receding.
The overall number of patients testing positive for the virus is also continuing to drop and is down 40% from the recent peak.
Infection levels rose from the end of May to mid-July, driven by the spread of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.
But data in the last few weeks has suggested the virus is now becoming less prevalent across the country.
Hospital admissions in England of people with Covid-19 stood at 10.1 per 100,000 in the seven days to August 7, according to new figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
This is down from 12.1 per 100,000 in the previous seven days, and is the third successive week-on-week fall.
Admission rates are falling for all age groups, though they remain highest among the most elderly.
The rate was 86.6 per 100,000 for people aged 85 and over in the week to August 7, down from 104.3 the previous week.
Admissions to intensive care units (ICU) have decreased from 0.4 per 100,000 people to 0.3 – again, the third weekly drop in a row.
Dr Mary Ramsay, UKHSA director of clinical programmes, said: “Covid-19 case rates, hospitalisations and ICU admissions have continued to decline this week.
“In order to drive down the virus further we urge eligible people to keep coming forward for their vaccine.
“Vaccination remains the best form of defence against hospitalisation and serious illness.”
Separate figures from NHS England show the total number of people in hospital in England who have tested positive for Covid-19 stood at 8,487 on August 10, down 14% week-on-week.
This is also down 40% from a peak of 14,044 on July 18.
Patient numbers in the latest wave have not risen as high as they did during the waves earlier this year, both of which saw peaks above 16,000.
Numbers have also remained well below the peak reached during the Alpha wave of infections in January 2021, when more than 34,000 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital.
Estimates published last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed 2.1 million people in England were likely to have had Covid-19 in the week to July 26, down from 2.6 million in the previous week.
There will be no update of infection levels from the ONS this week, due to a change in the way the data is collected.
The next update will be published on Friday August 19.
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