More than half of people labelled as a Covid hospital patient in England only tested positive after being admitted for a different reason, leaked figures show.
The NHS England data suggests the pressure of the third wave on hospitals may be even less severe than the daily numbers let on.
There were 827 patients admitted for Covid in England last Thursday, according to the Government’s coronavirus dashboard. But 56 per cent of these were only diagnosed with the virus after being in hospital for a different illness, with some patients only testing positive weeks later, according to data seen by The Telegraph.
Experts slammed the finding as ‘misleading’ and said officials must do more to differentiate between actual Covid admissions and ‘incidental’ cases. Increased testing – officials are doing more now than ever before – and high levels of transmission in the community will have played a role, they said.
It comes after MailOnline’s analysis earlier this month found 40 per cent of Covid ‘admissions’ were in hospital for other reasons. Tory MPs are now demanding new figures be published every day to paint a clearer picture of pressures on the NHS.
But health service bosses claimed today that trusts are just as busy as they were in the second wave of the pandemic, when there were more than 4,000 Covid admissions per day.
They said medics were juggling frantic efforts to chop down the 5.3million backlog of patients before winter as well as record numbers in A&E admissions.