Dutch weekly coronavirus report shows 35% rise in new infections

A person in a medical mask in front of the Dutch flag
Artist's rendering of a person in a medical mask in front of the Dutch flagValeryBrozhinskyDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Last week, public health agency RIVM determined that another 1,329 people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, the viral infection which causes respiratory illness Covid-19. The total was more than double the amount of new infections discovered in the first week of July, and a 35 percent increase over the previous week's total of 987, the RIVM said on Tuesday.

Nearly all of the infections were registered between July 20 and 27. A handful of test results were added to the agency's statistics for the second and third week of July, while about 50 cases were included in the early morning total for Tuesday, July 28.

Of those who tested positive, roughly 600 people were residents of Zuid-Holland, and 300 were residents of Noord-Holland. More than 150 were from Noord-Brabant, and about a hundred live in Utrecht. The remaining cases were scattered across the other provinces, with the highest clustering in Gelderland and Zeeland.

Last week at least 111,025 tests for a SARS-CoV-2 infection were processed, with a few labs still processing results. It was the highest number of tests completed in a one-week period in the Netherlands, eclipsing last week's record by nearly 20 percent. For the second consecutive week, the RIVM said that 1.0 percent of those who took the test were given a positive result. That rate is nearly double the first week of July, bringing the Netherlands back to the same rate of positive tests it showed in mid-June.

The basic reproduction, or R number, of the virus also reached 1.40, up from 1.29 last week. That number means that every 100 infected patients likely combined to cause an average of 140 new coronavirus patients. Like last week, the entire margin of error in calculating the R number was above 1.0, something which had not happened since the beginning of March, and a signal that more infections could be uncovered in the coming weeks as patients develop symptoms.

The agency also noted the deaths of nine more people as result of the coronavirus disease. To date, 6,145 people have died as a result of Covid-19.

Additionally, 23 more patients were known to have been admitted to the hospital for Covid-19, including 19 between July 20 and 25. The figures were slightly at odds with the RIVM's epidemiology report which shows that 11,919 patients have required hospitalization for the coronavirus disease since late February instead of 11,925. Some patients from earlier in the month could have been suspected of having Covid-19 but test results may have come back negative, resulting in the correction.

Infection clusters

The RIVM also noted that 22 percent of new infections in the past two weeks were likely caused by an infected person already in the same household. About 8 percent of infections were caused in some way by a family member not from the same household, the RIVM said.

Additionally, five percent of infections took place at work, and four percent were acquired at some sort of healthcare facility, though very few infections were linked to the family doctor's office or a hospital.

Roughly two percent of new cases were linked to the catering industry. Nearly all of that group of 45 patients has previously been connected to a single bar in Hillegom, Zuid-Holland.

Travel histories of patients

In the past two weeks, 185 people were known to have visited a foreign country within the 14 days prior to their positive test result. The agency said 46 people were known to have visited Belgium, 24 travelled to Germany, and 16 spent time in France. Another 15 went to Serbia, and 12 were in Spain, with the Netherlands saying just on Monday that people should not visit the Barcelona area unless absolutely necessary.

Ten people with a coronavirus infection had also set foot in Croatia. The Netherlands also issued an advisory against travelling to that country last week.