Covid infections plunge 18% as fewer get tested; ICU total sets new peak
Some 7,453 new coronavirus infections were reported by Dutch public health agency RIVM on Monday, the lowest total in weeks. At the same time, the Covid-19 hospital total rose to 2,573, the most since November 3.
The hospital overcrowding was so fierce that acute care expert Ernst Kuipers said during a press conference on Monday that it was simply not possible to even discuss relaxing social restrictions for the time being. "That is only possible if the number of infections decreases consistently. Following that, the number of patient admissions will decrease, but we know that will go slowly."
A spokesperson for municipal health service GGD said that there was a steep drop in the number of people who showed up for a coronavirus test on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. That accounted for the low tally, the spokesperson told Nu.nl. Some GGD regions also postponed testing due to high wind speeds and dangerous road conditions during winter storm Bella.
The infections total was down 18 percent compared to Sunday, and it was 34 percent lower than last Monday. It was at its lowest level since December 15, which was cut short due to a data error at the GGD. The last full date where the numbers were that low was December 9.
For the first time since December 17, the seven-day rolling average of new infections fell below ten thousand. The figure stood at 9,981 on Monday.
ICU tally at levels seen during the first wave; Deaths top 11,000
Another 273 people with Covid-19 were admitted to Dutch hospitals from Sunday afternoon into Monday afternoon. During that time, 54 patients were moved into intensive care units.
It pushed the Dutch hospital total up to 2,573, an increase of 152 after deaths and discharges. That was the highest total since the second wave peak reported by patient coordination office LCPS on November 3. The hospitals were expected to remain crowded for several weeks, with Covid-19 patients quickly filling up hospital beds in every region.
"So it's really looking for that last available bed," said Ernst Kuipers, the head of the Dutch acute care providers network. "We at least expect the peak to be higher than during the second wave and we're not there yet."
There were even 651 patients in intensive care, the most since May 4. That was an increase of 27. There were also 1,922 patients in regular care, an increase of 125.
"The people now in intensive care were infected before the lockdown measures nearly two weeks ago," Kuipers said.
Meanwhile, the total number of deaths in the Netherlands caused by Covid-19 topped 11 thousand on Monday. The RIVM reported 44 more deaths from the disease, bringing the Dutch total up to 11,042. The moving average shifted to 76 on the news.
The combined hospitalization total was 19 percent higher than a week ago, after figures showed an average daily rise of three percent. That put the hospital system on pace to have 3,069 patients by January 4.
To date, some 770,400 people in the Netherlands have tested positive for the coronavirus infection. About 30,748 of them were admitted into hospitals and treated in regular care. Approximately 6,553 Covid-19 patients were placed in intensive care units, where the survival rate was below 73 percent.