Coronavirus kills two, infects 77 more, bringing total to 265

Two patients diagnosed separately with coronavirus in the Netherlands died in their hospital beds this weekend, health agency RIVM confirmed. In the past 24 hours, another 77 have tested positive for the Covid-19 strain of the virus making the country's total number of patients 265, a 41 percent increase.

The patients who passed away include an 86-year-old man who was being treated at the Bernhoven Hospital in Uden, and an 82-year-old man at the Zuyderland Medical Center in Sittard-Geleen. "The source of these patients' infection is under investigation," the RIVM stated.​

Thus far, three people with the virus have died, and the government cautioned late last week that more fatal cases are likely. The Netherlands' first death due to a coronavirus infection happened on Friday, when an 86-year-old man from Hoekse Waard succumbed to the disease.  He was admitted to the Ikazia Hospital in Rotterdam with urinary tract problems last Sunday and was tested for the coronavirus after he started showing respiratory problems, the hospital said on Tuesday, confirming his diagnosis.

Some 144 of the 265 patients infected with the virus have traveled abroad, nearly all to northern Italy. They likely were infected abroad, while another "74 people were infected through a diagnosed patient," the RIVM said. It is still not known how 47 people became infected. The statistics include the three patients who died with the virus.

After the first Covid-19 diagnosis in the Netherlands was revealed on February 27th, the number of known infections quickly climbed to 188 on Saturday​. The increase in coronavirus cases was pretty steady in the first half of last week, before more than doubling from 38 to 82 on Thursday and then jumping to 128 on Friday.

"The majority of patients reside in home quarantine; 36 patients are now or have been admitted to the hospital," the statement noted. Public health service GGD was investigating who has been in contact with the 77 new patients. Their cities of residence had not been revealed as of Sunday afternoon.

Saturday's figures showed that the province with the most residents who have tested positive is Noord-Brabant, where all those living there were told to remain in their homes if they have even the slightest fever or respiratory symptom. This advice was given regardless if the individual has traveled to an area where the virus is prominent, or had contact with a coronavirus patient.

With more people being tested in the Netherlands, more positive cases were determined, said Bruno Bruins, the cabinet minister in charge of medical care. Not only are more people being tested, but as awareness of the virus grew, more people sought advice from their physicians and health authorities, ultimately leading to an increase in diagonses. He called it a "sharp rise", but one the health authorities took into account would happen. 

Among those diagnosed with the virus are at least four hospital workers from the OLVG in Amsterdam, the Amsterdam UMC, the Jeroen Bosch hospital in Den Bosch, and the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven

Two kids also developed symptoms at school. A primary school pupil at the Eerste Christelijk Lyceum in Haarlem attended school with symptoms for several days. And a high school pupil at Nieuwe Eemland in Amersfoort went to school without symptoms, and started coughing in first period. He was sent home immediately. Both tested positive for Covid-19 and are in home quarantine with their families. They both visited northern Italy for the holidays.  

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