Hospitals: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 26 November 2021.

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Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people acquired covid-19 in hospital in each of the last four weeks; and what steps is his Department is taking to prevent further cases.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold the data requested. This is because the incubation period of the virus and local differences in application of testing protocols mean it is not possible to definitively determine the number of people who contracted the virus while in hospital.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collect data as part of a daily COVID-19 SITREP on time between admission to hospital and first positive swab. Since October 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published data relating to the number of daily new hospital COVID-19 admissions and cases, the number of patients admitted from the community with the virus and patients who tested positive within seven days of admission.

Data is also published for community admissions including cases diagnosed less than eight days after admission. It is therefore possible to determine the number of cases diagnosed eight or more days after admission. However, it should be noted that the definition of an infection definitely contracted because of an infection or toxin which exists in a certain location, such as a hospital, is greater than 15 days. Therefore, some of these cases diagnosed between eight and 14 days will be community acquired.

Mechanisms for infection prevention including physical distancing, optimal hand hygiene, equipment and environment decontamination and measures such as extended use of face masks by healthcare staff, patients and visitors, are continually reviewed in line with infection prevention and control guidance. NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to ensure effective infection prevention and control in all areas.

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