COVID-19: Admissions to Hospital – Update

May 1, 2020

Carl Heneghan, Jason Oke

Updated 12 Oct: The daily Cabinet Office coronavirus briefings, publish Hospital Acute Trusts data in England from major emergency departments that provide a consultant-led 24-hour service (a type 1 A&E). The most recent data is posted here 

The graphs are interactive (place your cursor on the points to reveal the data)

Daily COVID Admissions in England over time


Absolute Change in COVID Admissions over time

Definitions changed over time. Previous definitions were: *COVID daily confirmed on admission, and COVID -19 confirmed on admission COVID daily admissions diagnosed within 24 hours (see slide set 30th April and slide set 5th May). It is not clear whether ‘admission’ means admitted to hospital with COVID, admitted and diagnosed with COVID while in a hospital or infected with COVID while an inpatient.

Critical Care Bed Occupancy across the UK continue to decline:

Includes both Nightingale hospitals and Dragon’s Heart/Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig field hospital

For Wales ventilator and critical care beds are identical. For Scotland, mechanical ventilator beds and critical care beds are identical (figures include a small number of patients who are not on mechanical ventilation). For England, the denominator is the number of beds capable of delivering mechanical ventilation. For Northern Ireland, the denominator is the number of beds capable of delivering mechanical ventilation, based on its current maximum surge capacity.

People in Hospital in England

Absolute change and moving average for people in hospital

The absolute change shows an early trend for very high numbers in hospital beds with an absolute increase over 1,000 per day occurring on six separate occasions. However, it is notable that there was a rapid rebound such that by the 11th April the figures saw rapid declines in people occupying beds – the 17th April saw the maximal reduction with 928 fewer beds occupied by COVID patients.

Explanations for changes include:
1) Some people admitted into hospital died;
2) Some admitted idid not need to be in hospital and were therefore rapidly discharged;
3) The data on admissions shows that the peak of admission occurred on the 1st of April and then declined

It is likey the rapid decline and then stabilisation of the numbers occupying beds is a combination of all three.


Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme. (Full bio and disclosure statement here)

Jason Oke is a Senior Statistician at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and Module Coordinator for Statistical Computing with R and Stata (EBHC Med Stats), and Introduction to Statistics for Health Care Research (EBHC), as part of the Evidence-Based Health Care Programme.


Disclaimer: the article has not been peer-reviewed; it should not replace individual clinical judgement, and the sources cited should be checked. The views expressed in this commentary represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the host institution, the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care. The views are not a substitute for professional medical advice.