The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported an increase in care home COVID outbreaks over the past week.
The number of suspected outbreaks of coronavirus across the UK in the week ending June 12 was 221, up from 96 the previous week and the highest since the start of May.
There were 153 outbreaks detected in care homes, up week on week from 67, with 102 outbreaks having a least one linked case that tested positive for Covid-19.
Health experts said they were assessing whether the rise could reflect the impact of new Omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5, which were recently categorised “variants of concern” and have been linked with an increase in prevalence of the virus in parts of the UK.
The figures also show the rate of hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 among the over-85s was 52.7 per 100,000 in the most recent week, up from 41.9 and the second weekly rise in a row.
Dr Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programmes at the UKHSA, said,
“After a period of low case rates, we are now seeing increases in outbreaks within care homes and in hospitalisations among those aged 80 years and over.
“It is encouraging that we are not seeing an increase in intensive care unit admissions but we are monitoring data closely and assessing the possible impact of subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
“As we enter summer, it’s still important to remember that covid-19 has not gone away and to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus. If you’re not yet up to date with your jabs please come forward now – it’s not too late to get protected.
“Remember to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.”