The data shows the average number of Covid-19 cases caught on wards in England has dropped from 553 on January 10 to 369 on January 25, a fall of 33 per cent.
This has happened despite the number of patients in hospitals rising throughout the month, with a now record 3,600 people in intensive care and 32,000 inpatients.
Falling in-hospital infections, also known as nosocomial infections, come alongside a decline in daily hospital admissions in all regions of England.
The number of Covid cases caught in hospital on any single day this month was highest on January 4 with 635 cases, a day before the third national lockdown came into force.
This then halved to a low of 304 on January 22, while the daily average, calculated over seven days, has declined more slowly.
The data shows the average number of Covid-19 cases caught on wards has dropped from 553 on January 10 to an average low of 369 on January 25 across England
Sir Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, warned on Tuesday that doctors and nurses were still seeing no respite from ‘incessant’ Covid admissions. Pictured: A patient at King’s College Hospital in London
The total number of Covid-19 patients on wards remains ‘incredibly high’, Professor Chris Whitty warned this week, and is 80 per cent above the peak of the first wave.
HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS FALLING IN ALL ENGLISH REGIONS
The number of coronavirus patients being admitted to hospital appears to have peaked in every region of England, official figures show as the third national lockdown continues to drive down infections.
NHS England data showed hospitalisations had fallen 13 per cent across England from their peak, and a regional breakdown shows a falling trend in all regions with the biggest drops in London, the South East and East of England, which have been in lockdown since before Christmas.
NHS England data shows weekly Covid-19 hospitalisations across England peaked in the week to January 12, when they hit an average of 26,700 patients, before dropping to 23,000 by January 24, the latest date figures are available.
London, the South East and the East of England were first to see their daily coronavirus admissions peak, NHS England data shows, with each seeing their highest number over the seven days to January 9.
In the capital admissions hit 6,000 patients, before dropping 28 per cent to 4,300 by January 24.
In the East of England they hit 3,351, but then fell 17 per cent to 2,800, and in the South East they dropped by 28 per cent from 4,600 to 3,400.
Admissions passed their peak in the South West – which has escaped the full force of both waves – in the week to January 15, and have now dropped by 15 per cent from 2,100 to 1,750.
And in the North West – forced to endure months of severe restrictions under the old and new tier systems – they peaked in the same week, but have since only dropped five per cent from 3,100 to 2,900.
The daily number of hospitalisations in the Midlands hit a height of 5,300 in the week to January 20. It has now dropped by 10 per cent to 4,800.
And in the North East and Yorkshire NHS data suggests admissions peaked in the week to January 21 at 3,200 before falling by six per cent to 3,000.
And the numbers on mechanical ventilators are at their highest level since the pandemic began at 30 per cent above the levels in April, although in the most recent days this has started to dip on a national level.
Preventing the spread of coronavirus in hospital is being achieved by all patient-facing staff wearing large amounts of protective equipment.
All are required to wear gloves, masks and aprons whether they are meeting Covid patients or not.
And wards have been segregated to keep Covid-positive patients away from others who are there for treatment for other serious illnesses.
The risk of transmission in hospitals is high because patients generally have large amounts of the virus in their body, which is what makes them sicker, and medical staff regularly have to touch them and get extremely close.
Testing surveys have found that staff working in patient-facing medical roles are more likely to contract coronavirus than the general population.
But hospitals are now warning that keeping Covid and non-Covid patients separate is becoming increasingly difficult as wards get ever busier.
Papers published before a board meeting of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust, according to The Times, stated: ‘It is becoming much more difficult to separate the Covid positive and Covid negative patients.’
The documents said it was increasingly common for patients admitted into ‘cold’ areas for non-Covid treatment to be transferred into ‘hot’ areas for Covid sufferers despite showing no symptoms.
Sir Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, warned on Tuesday that doctors and nurses were still seeing no respite from ‘incessant’ Covid admissions.
A Covid-19 adviser to the British Medical Association said earlier this month a staff member from a London hospital said it was ‘impossible’ to segregate Covid patients.
Dr David Strain said: ‘I heard reports from a staff member in central London who had completed a 12-hour shift where it was impossible to maintain a safe distance, it was impossible to segregate patients with coronavirus from those without it. She was genuinely fearful for patients and her staff.’
NHS staff were among those who were offered the jab when the rollout began in December and England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam has said jabs ‘couldn’t fail to have some effect on transmission’.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference he said it was less a question of ‘will they?’ and rather ‘to what extent’ will inoculation help to reduce the spread.
However England’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said he would be ‘extremely cautious’ about the effect vaccines on transmissibility until there was ‘proper data’ available.
He added: ‘You shouldn’t expect to see nobody getting ill who’s been vaccinated. Vaccines are not 100 per cent effective. We will still see people who get disease.’
The daily number of Covid-19 hospitalisations in England has peaked but remains ‘incredibly high’. Above it is broken down by regions of England
MINISTERS BEGIN WORK ON ROADMAP TO EASE RESTRICTIONS
Boris Johnson could unveil a roadmap out of lockdown within weeks if coronavirus cases keep easing – as ministers today insisted the government took the ‘right decisions at the right time’ despite the UK passing the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths.
The blueprint, which Tory MPs have been demanding for weeks amid fears about havoc being wreaked on the economy, is expected to be published by February 15, when ministers will review the draconian measures in force to get the mutant strain under control.
News that work on the exit strategy is under way came after Prof Chris Whitty provided a small but much needed glimmer of hope – saying he believed the UK had reached the peak of the latest wave.
The chief medic said cases were falling fast – down from 68,000 cases recorded on January 7 to just over 20,000 yesterday. The figure is the lowest it has been since December, while the vaccine rollout is gathering speed.
However, deaths are still high as they lag behind infections – with some scientists suggesting another 50,000 could fall victim before the crisis ‘burns out’.
This morning Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick defended the handling of the pandemic amid criticism that Mr Johnson acted too late to lockdown at crucial moments, stressing that there was no ‘textbook’ to dealing with the disease and ministers did ‘everything we could’ based on the knowledge they had.
But, in a round of interviews, he admitted that in ‘hindsight’ there were things that could have been done differently, and accepted there will ‘come a time’ when the government’s performance will need to be assessed.
In a blunt verdict, shadow health secretary said: ‘I don’t accept they did everything they could.’
The UK is taking stock after it was announced last night that the toll had moved into six figures, with Mr Johnson telling a Downing Street briefing that he was ‘deeply sorry for every life lost’.