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New NHS data suggests 23% of people with Covid infections in hospital were admitted for other reasons.
Hospitals in England have released more detail than usual about the number of Covid patients in their care.
The government denies NHS pressures had previously been overstated by counting all patients testing positive.
All patients are routinely tested for Covid upon admission, whatever their reason for coming to hospital.
The Department for Health and Social Care said this measure was still “the most important” because of the impact Covid-positive patients have on NHS capacity and workforce pressure.