A rise in the number of patients with COVID-19 could have an impact on other health services, the United Kingdom National Health Scheme (NHS) bosses have warned.
Admissions at the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have increased, as UK cases jumped by 32% in a week.
Hospitals in Winchester, Andover and Basingstoke are creating new so-called “hot wards” to care for the increasing numbers of patients with COVID-19.
Medical director Dr Lara Alloway said there was a “real concern” of a knock-on effect on planned operations.
The trust said it had seen numbers rise three-fold in a month.
Andover War Memorial, almost COVID-19-free in previous waves, currently has 20 patients with symptoms.
The latest national rise in COVID-19 infections – by about 500,000 cases last week, according to survey data by the Office for National Statistics – is being driven by two new fast-spreading sub-variants of the Omicron variant, called BA.4 and BA.5.
While hospital admissions are not at the level of winter months, Dr Alloway said additional staff, resources and infection control measures were being put back in place to deal with the current rise in Covid-19 cases.
“We are incredibly busy in all of our hospitals, but wherever possible we are protecting our planned case, trying to bring people in for operations that we are aware they have waited a long time for,” she said.
“We are seeing that patients are sicker with COVID-19. So I would encourage anyone who could have an additional booster, and is in a vulnerable group, to make sure they do get it.”
University Hospital Southampton recently reintroduced the wearing of masks in the hospital, following a sharp rise of the virus in the community.