Coronavirus: Three more test positive; Dutch hospital closed after treating intensive care patient

Dutch health agency RIVM
Dutch health agency RIVM. July 21, 2013MartinlWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

This story will be updated as more information is made available.

Three more people in the Netherlands were diagnosed with the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus on Sunday, the health agency RIVM announced at a press conference. The statement was made amid reports that the Beatrixziekenhuis, a hospital in Gorinchem, was closed to new patients on Friday, and those people who were already inside the facility were ordered to stay inside.

"Of these three patients, it is not yet known how they became infected," the RIVM said in a statement it issued to the public.

"On the basis of this information, we will also adjust the public advisory. If there are minor airway complaints, we advise people to stay at home, to determine if the symptoms become more serious and to contact the general physician if necessary," said Healthcare Minister Bruno Bruins. The advise is mainly for people who have either traveled to an area where coronavirus is more common, or those who have been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, including roommates.

It brings the total number of known cases in the Netherlands to 10. The patients revealed to the public at the Sunday press event concerns a woman from Gorinchem, Zuid-Holland, a man from Coevorden, Drenthe and a woman from Tilburg, Noord-Brabant.

The patient at the Gorinchem hospital had been in intensive care there from February 21 through Friday. The patient was taken to the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam on Saturday, where they were tested for coronavirus, a test which came back positive.

All patients at the Gorinchem hospital will remain there under a temporary quarantine. The Beatrixziekenhuis is not accepting new patients or visitors. Staff members are allowed to leave the hospitals at the end of their shifts and return home, confirmed the RIVM.

"There is also a new patient in Tilburg, a woman who has been admitted to the hospital in Tilburg. This patient, too, has spent some time at Carnaval," said Jaap van Dissel, who is the director of the Infectious Diseases department at the RIVM. "At hospitals around Tilburg, inquiries were made as to whether there were more cases of pneumonia in the period around and after the Carnaval, which is not the case."

The man from Coevorden also visited Carnaval in Tilburg over a three-day period. The first patient in the Netherlands also attended events linked to the festival in Tilburg.

Investigations are now underway to determine who the three new patients have encountered. A similar investigation over a patient from Delft, revealed on Saturday night, determined she had been in contact with about a dozen people whose temperatures and respiritory abilities are being monitored.

Among those in the Netherlands who tested positive with the virus are a 23-year-old woman from Delft who returned from Lombardy, Italy on February 24, an Amsterdam woman and her husband who returned from Lombardy on February 23, their toddler-aged son, and a man from Loon op Zand, Noord-Brabant, who also traveled to Lombardy. He was the first person diagnosed in the Netherlands. On Saturday, his wife and their daughter also tested positive

Health officials in the northern Italian province of Lombardy said on Saturday that 888 people there were known carriers of Covid-19 coronavirus. They said 21 of the patients had died because of the infection, newswire Reuters reported.

Authorities in the Netherlands are concerned about people who have traveled to China, Hong Kong, Iran, eight regions of northern Italy, Macau, Singapore or South Korea. The eight Italian areas include the Aosta Valley, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Trentino-Alto Adige & South Tyrol, and Veneto.

Anyone who has traveled to those areas and exhibits respiratory complaints should stay at home to see if the symptoms advance or subside. They should also maintain contact with their doctors. The expectation is they will be checked for coronavirus if they also develop a fever in addition to symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath.

Additionally, those sharing a home with anyone who tested positive for Covid-19 "and who have been at risk must limit their social contacts," the RIVM said. "This means that these people are not allowed to work," and should remain in their home.

The national government launched a helpline that Netherlands residents can call with questions about the coronavirus. The number is 0800-1351.