The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity increased in week 21 of 2021.

Case rates have increased or stayed level across all age groups. The biggest increase has been seen in those aged 10 to 29. Case rates have increased very slightly in those aged above 50.

Pillar 2 positivity shows that there has been no change in positivity for those aged above 50 but has increased in younger age groups.

Case rates in week 21 were highest in those aged 10 to 19, with a case rate of 72.3 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates continued to be in those aged 70 and above, with a rate of 5.0 per 100,000 population.

Case rates per 100,000 were highest in the North West, at 87.4.

Case rates per 100,000 are lowest in the South West, with a rate of 9.4.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 280 in week 21, compared to 228 in the previous week.

Educational settings saw the largest incidents with 122.

The hospital admission rate for COVID-19 is 0.89 per 100,000 in week 21, compared to 0.79 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 in week 21 were highest in the West Midlands with a rate of 1.33.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Dr Mike Gent, Incident Director for the COVID-19 response at Public Health England, said:

We are seeing some increases in case rates once again, particularly in younger age groups who are not yet being vaccinated and are having regular testing. This is to be expected as the country opens up and people start to socialise more together. But it provides a stark reminder that we must all follow hands, face, space, fresh air and importantly get vaccinated when it’s offered. We will continue to closely monitor the case rates, hospitalisations and deaths over the coming days.