(Bloomberg) -- Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations are rising again in England, with officials warning of climbing case numbers in hospitals and care homes. 

The number of suspected outbreaks increased 61% last week, while the hospital admission rate climbed 45% to 10.83 per 100,000 population, the UK Health Security Agency said on Thursday. Hospital admission rates were highest in southwest England after soaring 250% since mid-September. 

Both cases and hospitalizations “are now at their highest level in months,” said Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency. She urged residents to ensure they were up-to-date on their vaccinations and avoid contact with at-risk people if feeling ill. 

Cases and hospitalizations still remain well below previous peak levels, however.

Public health authorities have warned that the return of cold weather and more indoor socializing in the northern hemisphere may fuel a winter surge of Covid and other respiratory viruses and have urged people to get an omicron-adapted booster shot. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, got a booster shot on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, quipping that the scariest part of the Halloween season is “1,000 kids coming to my door breathing on me.” 

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