THE number of people being treated for Covid in hospital in Southampton has risen since last week once again.

As concerns rise ahead of children going back to school and parents returning to work after the holidays, the number of hospitalisations for the virus has risen 44 per cent in the last four weeks.

As of last Tuesday, University Hospital Southampton Trust was caring for 56 coronavirus patients in hospital, figures show.

NHS England data shows the number of people being treated in hospital for Covid-19 was up from 47 on the same day the previous week, and 28 days ago there were 39.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised nationally has increased by 14 per cent in the last four weeks, while the number on mechanical ventilators has increased by 16 per cent.

The figures also show that 93 new Covid patients were admitted to hospital in University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust in the week to August 22. This was up from 71 in the previous seven days.

Experts have warned that September will be a key month for monitoring Covid-19 data.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) which advises the Government, argued vaccinating younger age groups could provide coronavirus protection beyond the school environment.

He said: “When schools reopen that does lead to more children mixing in closed environments.

“We have to remember… when we talk about schools going back, it’s not really the risk around schools. Schools are no more risky than any other environment where people mix in close proximity to one another.

“But it’s what happens around schools – when schools go back, parents tend to return to work and people mix in other environments.

“So it’s that sort of protection that if we have high levels of vaccination across younger age groups, it should provide that both direct and indirect protection in those settings.”

His comments come as the NHS prepares to ensure it is ready to potentially offer Covid-19 vaccines to all 12 to 15-year-olds in England from early September.