Coronavirus infections up 7% to 5,214; "It's going very slowly": ICU boss
Another 5,214 people tested positive for an infection of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, the fifth-straight day where new infections topped five thousand, data from public health agency RIVM showed. Although the total was down four percent from Sunday's total, it was seven percent higher than a week earlier.
"We are not in the neighborhood of 4,000," said Ernst Kuipers, the head of the Dutch acute care providers network. "We should not be talking about relaxing the rules until then," he said during a press conference on Monday. He did say he was optimistic about the situation, "but it is going very slowly."
Over the past seven days, an average of 5,337 new infections were reported by the RIVM, about two percent lower than the previous week. The stagnating figures, which has shown signs of rising in recent days, led Prime Minister Mark Rutte to caution that if people do not stick to the current restrictions in place the country might have to enforce them more strictly over the Christmas and New Year's period than hoped.
Meanwhile, hospitals admitted 151 more patients with Covid-19 into regular care between the afternoons of Sunday and Monday. During that time, 23 people were admitted into intensive care, according to patient coordination office LCPS. The intensive care admissions also needs to fall to about ten per day for coronavirus restrictions to be lifted responsibly, Kuipers said. An average of 33 ICU admissions were reported each of the past seven days.
The current admitted hospital total rose by 35 patients to 1,968, which was still nearly eight percent lower than a week ago. That consistent decrease in the patient total since November 3 gave Kuipers some degree of optimism. The total number of ICU patients with the coronavirus disease fell by four to 536, while outside of the ICU hospitals were treating 1,432 patients, an increase of 39.
Kuipers was also very pleased about the news that another vaccine against the coronavirus, this one developed by the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca, showed up to 90 percent effectiveness in testing. "Very positive, it is absolutely positive," he said.
The new data from the RIVM pushed the total number of Dutch infections closer to the half-million mark, with 489,818 diagnosed with the infection since the end of February. However, testing for the virus remained very low until June 1 when anyone in the country could self-report for a test. Since then, the GGD municipal health services alone have completed over 4.1 million coronavirus tests.
The city with the most infected residents in Monday's data was Amsterdam with 235, down 29 percent compared to the previous week. Rotterdam showed a similar 27 percent drop down to 200, and six percent fewer residents of The Hague tested positive for the infection, or 116 in total.
Additionally, 54 more deaths were linked to Covid-19, slightly below the seven-day average of 60. To date, 8,945 people have died as a result of the disease.