23 Covid infections at Zuid-Holland bar; Hundreds more possible

Health service GGD Hollands Midden traced 23 coronavirus infections in the Zuid-Holland town of Hillegom to a local bar. The health service is worried that these new Covid-19 patients may have infected "several hundred" others, GGD Hollands Midden director Sjaak de Gouw said on radio program Nieuws en Co. on Monday. 

The GGD traced the 23 new infections to bar De Kleine Beurs. The health service also did contact tracing for each of the patients. "That turned out to be disturbing. A number of people continued to work with minor symptoms," De Gouw said. "That is in our genes, that we're not weak and just keep working with the sniffles or cough. But in this case it means that these people had many close contacts. Because if people were at work and interacted with other people there, we must trace all those people. And then you are quickly talking about a multiple of the 23."

"Anyone who works in a healthcare institution or attended an office party may have infected a lot of people. If you are talking about ten to 15 people per patient on average, we are talking about several hundred infections in total," De Gouw said. "That is why there are rules. Get tested, don't go to work if you have symptoms."

This week hospitals and GGDs in Noord-Brabant also raised concerns about locals increasingly ignoring coronavirus rules, while the number of infections in the province is climbing. "I'm allowed to be angry about that. We are far from finished catching up on the regular care that could not continue due to corona. We really can't take a second wave," Bart Berden of the Elisabeth TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg said to AD.

Public health institute RIVM reported with its weekly coronavirus stats last week that it identified several localized clusters of infections in different parts of the country. But according to Ernst Kuipers, head of the acute care network in the Netherlands, these clusters have not yet translated into an overall increase in coronavirus-related hospital admissions. On Monday, Dutch hospitals were treating a total of 97 coronavirus patients - 16 in intensive care, 81 in other hospital wards.