Covid hospital total falls further; New coronavirus infections back up near 5,800
The number of coronavirus patients being treated in Dutch hospitals fell for the fourth straight day to 1,769 people on Friday. The decline suggests the country's medical centers could have fewer than 1,600 Covid-19 patients by the end of next week.
Friday's total included 1,251 patients in regular care, six fewer than on Thursday. There were also 518 patients in intensive care, also down six for the day. The combined total reflected ten percent fewer hospitalized people with Covid-19 than one week ago, after seven days of an average daily reduction of about 1.5 percent.
During the 24 hours leading into Friday afternoon hospitals admitted 188 more people with the coronavirus disease, 4.5 percent more than the seven-day average, and moved 23 into intensive care.
Meanwhile, public health agency RIVM said on Friday that 5,790 more people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection, the most in six days. While the tally was 28 percent higher than a day earlier, it was three percent lower than last Friday. It was also about 13 percent higher than the rolling seven-day average of 5,134.
With the ICU admissions still above the manageable number of 10, and with coronavirus infections higher than hoped, a growing number of medical experts have called on politicians to cast aside any plans to loosen restrictions so families can gather for the Christmas holiday. Earlier this week, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge suggested he was pessimistic about the holiday season, and said there was a good chance the country would still be in a partial lockdown past January. His words were more measured on Friday.
"We are going to take it step by step," he said before the weekly Cabinet meeting. "I'm not going to say anything more about this. It just makes everyone restless."
So far this week, 24,436 people have tested positive for the coronavirus infection, down four percent compared to the same period last week.
All four cities with the most new infections showed significantly higher totals than their rolling averages. Rotterdam (324) led the pack for most infections, a total that was 32 percent greater than its seven-day average. That was followed by Amsterdam (314), which showed a 10-percent above average sum.
A surge in infections put the Noord-Brabant cities of Tilburg (119) and Eindhoven (108). They were each about 40 percent higher than their respective rolling averages. With 98 infections, The Hague showed its best total in weeks, a figure which was about nine percent below average.
The RIVM also said that 84 more deaths were the result of Covid-19, well above the week's average of 64. It brought the total number of deaths in the Netherlands up to 9,267.
To date, 508,866 people in the country have tested positive for the coronavirus infection. An estimated 24,618 people were treated for the infection in regular care hospital departments, and 5,445 required intensive care treatment.