Dozens of patients may have caught Covid-19 AFTER being admitted to Northampton General Hospital since last year's lockdown ended, according to new figures.
NHS England data revealed there were 405 Covid-19 admissions at NGH between July 19, 2021, and January 16 this year – the latest date for which data is available.
Of those, 358 were infections that occurred in the community — meaning 47 people may have contracted the virus while being treated for other conditions.
Data shows 26 new Covid patients were admitted to NGH during the week to January 16, with seven thought to have contracted the virus in hospital.
An NGH spokesperson said: “Covid-19, particularly the Omicron variant, is extremely infectious.
"In hospital conditions, where infection prevention measures are in place, it still passes between persons.
"We test patients for Covid when they arrive in hospital, during their stay, and encourage regular testing for our staff.”
NGH introduced stricter rules on visiting last month following a rise in cases in the community and are continuing to ask anyone attending the hospital to wear face coverings despite the government lifting Plan B restrictions from Thursday (January 27).
Latest NHS England figures showed 88 Covid patients were being treated in NGH on January 25, down by 11 from the previous week.
Across England, 17,900 patients — 12 percent of those treated for Covid during this time may have caught the virus in hospital since July.
Around 2,700 of these infections are believed to have happened in the week to January 16.
The British Medical Association said understaffing and underfunding nationally, coupled with poor infrastructure across many hospitals, have made it harder to control the infection.
Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA' s consultants committee, said: “The NHS has limited bed capacity and many hospitals are old, are poorly ventilated and have very few single-patient rooms in which to effectively isolate patients.
“Unfortunately, that has meant that controlling the spread of Covid-19 within hospitals has been difficult."
Dr Sharma added the BMA had also "consistently" raised concerns around poor PPE and was calling for the government's upcoming public inquiry into the pandemic to be transparent.
He said: “No one should come into hospital with one condition, only to be made incredibly ill with, or even die from, a dangerous infectious disease.
"Families – including those of our own colleagues who died fighting this virus on the frontline – deserve answers."
NHS England said rising infection rates in hospital correspond to increasing rates in the community adding reports show outbreaks in hospitals are less common than in other settings.
A spokesman said: "Covid-19 hospital infection rates account for less than one percent of all cases since the pandemic began."