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Norovirus and flu cases at highest levels this winter

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There has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of flu cases in the past one month

NHS England is encouraging people to get their flu and Covid vaccines as hospitals dealt with the highest number of norovirus and flu cases this winter.

An average of 688 patients with norovirus were in hospital each day last week, 75 per cent higher than the same time last year (393), according to the latest data from NHS England.

The data also showed an average of 2,226 patients with flu in hospital each day last week, which is three-quarters higher than the same week last January (1,290).

Compared to last month, there has been an 80 per cent increase in the daily count of norovirus cases and 70 per cent in flu cases.

In the week ending Dec 31, NHSE recorded 1,312 hospital admissions due to norovirus and 376 and 1,312 flu cases each day.

Covid is still a concern in England, with NHS data showing an average of 3,982 hospitalisation due to the viral infection each day last week – up from 3,895 each day the week before.

NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care, Professor Julian Redhead said that the health service is still in the thick of a challenging winter with “intensifying seasonal virus pressures.”

Last week, 96 per cent of adult beds were occupied, the highest so far this winter, fuelled by the rising numbers of flu and norovirus admissions.

“NHS staff have worked tirelessly to boost capacity and execute key steps of the urgent and emergency care recovery plan.”

“As always, I would urge the public to get their flu and Covid vaccines if they are eligible, and continue to come forward for NHS services when you need them – 999 or A&E in an emergency, and 111 online for any other conditions,” the NHS’s top emergency doctor added.

There was high demand for ambulances, with more than 90,000 patients taken to hospitals last week.

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