Another 43% were done within two days of admission, including 13% in the days and weeks after, including those likely to have caught the virus in hospital.
Experts said the high number of late-detected cases – at a time when PCR testing was widely available – suggested that many such patients had been admitted for other reasons.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “This data is extremely important and should be published on an ongoing basis.
“When people hear about hospitalizations with Covid, they assume Covid is the probable cause, but this data shows something entirely different – this is Covid being detected after tests have it. research. “
Professor Heneghan urged the government to release clearer data, including whether or not the virus was the leading cause of hospitalization.
“This needs to be corrected urgently,” he said, adding that the data released could lead the public “to the wrong conclusions”, exaggerating the true levels of pressure on hospitals.
Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Conservative MPs committee, said: ‘Almost 18 months after the start of the Covid crisis, it is absurd that data on hospital admissions is still not publicly available regularly.
“Counting all the patients who test positive as Covid hospitalizations is inevitably misleading and gives a false picture of the continued impact of the virus on health. “
Greg Clark, chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, said Monday evening he would write to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of Health, asking him to regularly release the breakdown after the Telegraph’s disclosure.
“While hospitalizations due to Covid are a key determinant of our concern and how quickly restrictions need to be lifted, it is important that the data is not presented in a way that could lead to the wrong conclusions being drawn,” did he declare.
“While some of these people may be admitted because of Covid, we currently don’t know how many. And for those who are not, there is a big distinction between people who are admitted because of Covid and those who are for something else but have Covid in such a mild form that it was not the cause. of their hospitalization. ”
The leaked statistics come from the NHS Daily Situation Reports, collected by all hospital trusts in England.
An NHS data expert said the statistics released distorted the real picture, saying: ‘It creates the impression that all of these people are going to the hospital with Covid, and that just isn’t the case. People are worried and scared and don’t really understand the real picture – that’s what I find contemptible. “
An NHS spokesperson said: ‘Many patients are admitted to hospital due to their symptoms and complications of Covid, which are then confirmed by a post-admission Covid test, and for others they may be initially presymptomatic or asymptomatic. ”