Covid Scotland: 80% increase in ICU admissions as 15 Omicron deaths confirmed

Covid-related admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) have increased by 80 per cent in a week, a new report from Public Health Scotland (PHS) shows.

There were 45 new ICU admissions in the week to January 9 – an 80 per cent increase on the week before.

Overall there were 1,003 hospital admissions with Covid in the week to January 4 – a 43 per cent increase on the previous week.

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There has been no further data released on on hospitalisations “with” and “because of” Covid. The most recent PHS report suggests around 60 per cent of patients visiting hospital “with” Covid are admitted because of the virus.

Staff at University Hospital Monklands attend to a Covid-positive patient on the ICU ward on February 5, 2021 in Airdrie, Scotland. TPhoto by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

PHS also published its final update on figures relating to the Omicron variant, which has now become the dominant strain in Scotland.

In total 15 deaths related to Omicron have been confirmed, along with nine ICU admissions, 337 hospital admissions and 32,305 cases.

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However, these figures rely on genomic sequencing, which takes several weeks, and are likely to be an underestimate.

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The highest number of hospital admissions with Covid is in those aged over 80, at 220 in the week to January 4.

This is an increase of 62 on the previous week, and is 3.5 times the number of patients admitted in the week to December 14.

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The number of admissions in patients aged 75-79 has doubled in just one week, from 41 to 82.

Recent analysis from PHS suggests that over-65s are disproportionately more likely to be admitted to hospital “because of” rather than “with” Covid, accounting for 42 per cent of admissions because of the virus, but just 26 per cent of those with it.

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It comes after experts warned Scotland may see an increase in the impact of Omicron on older people in coming weeks.

Dr Antonia Ho, a clinical senior lecturer in infectious diseases at Glasgow University and consultant at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Monklands Hospital, told The Scotsman she was “concerned” about the proportion of older people who would end up with severe disease despite being fully vaccinated.

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Professor Andrew Elder, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and a geriatrician, also said he expected to see more older patients with Covid in coming weeks.

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