Published: 17:46, 12 September 2021
| Updated: 17:48, 12 September 2021
The number of people with Covid in Kent's hospitals has jumped by more than 50% in a week.
New figures show there are 167 patients in the county with the virus - up from 111, and the highest number since March.
Almost 10% of them are on a ventilator.
But while the total in Kent is increasing, it remains well below the 1,361 seen at the peak of the pandemic in January.
The county's impressive vaccine roll-out has kept the number of hospital patients and Covid deaths much lower than when similar infection rates were seen at the start of the year.
Latest figures show there were 5,071 new coronavirus cases in Kent and Medway the most recent week, with 167 people in hospital with the virus on September 7.
At the end of January, when case numbers were roughly the same, there were almost 1,000 patients.
But the recent jump will be cause for concern for health bosses ahead of the typically tough winter months, as it follows weeks of relatively little change.
It is hoped, however, that with 76% of adults in Kent now fully vaccinated, there will not be a return of the staggering numbers seen in December and January.
As well as keeping more people out of hospital, the jab roll-out has also reduced the number of deaths in Kent, although numbers are increasing.
At the end of January close to 300 people were dying a week within 28 days of a positive Covid case, compared to 17 in the most recent week.
Meanwhile, Kent's infection rate continues to rise slowly, now standing at 277 weekly cases per 100,000 people - up 12%.
Twelve of the 13 districts have recorded a weekly increase, with only Thanet - down 15% - heading in the right direction.
The national rate has risen 13%, to 343.