Average coronavirus infections drop; Acute care leader: Lockdown extension likely
The number of new coronavirus infections ticked back up above seven thousand, but not enough to raise the moving average which stood at 7,747. While the average has fallen for 15 consecutive days, it was still slightly higher than on December 12, when Cabinet ministers and advisers convened an emergency meeting that led to the country entering a hard lockdown days later.
The RIVM also noted that 175 more people died from Covid-19, the most reported to the agency in a single day since April. Hospitals were treating 2,827 people for Covid-19 on Wednesday, a decrease of two percent, but the admitted patient total was still as high as it was in Mid-April after the peak of first wave hospitalizations.
"That is not a good sign. We have to take into account that the [lockdown] measures will take longer," said Ernst Kuipers, the head of the acute care providers network. The lockdown in the Netherlands was planned to last at least until January 19. Prime Minister Mark Rutte also said Tuesday night he was not optimistic that the lockdown would be lifted.
In an interview with Rijnmond, Marco Zannoni said that it will be crucial for the government to explain what works, what does not work, and what the goal is if the lockdown is extended. The representative of the Security and Crisis Management Institute said, "There are fewer and fewer dials for the government to turn. Close even more shops? A curfew? What works?"
There were 7,142 new infections reported on Wednesday, an 11 percent increase compared to Tuesday but a 25 percent drop from a week ago. Over 20 thousand people have already tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection this week, about 18 percent less than last week.
For the first time in a week, Amsterdam residents were reported as testing positive in daily statistics. That city led all others with 337, followed by The Hague (222) and Rotterdam (165).
Some 262 more people with Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. After accounting for deaths and discharges, the total number of patients in regular care fell by 28 to 2,131. During that same one-day period, 39 coronavirus patients were moved into intensive care units. The ICU total showed a net decrease of 27 down to 696.
Kuipers, who also runs the Erasmus Medical Center, said he was excited that people in the Netherlands were starting to be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. However, he was not optimistic about an immediate impact on hospitalization figures, or on staffing difficulties caused by workers testing positive for the infection.
"This will really take a while," he said to Rijnmond. "The impact of vaccinations on the number of infections will be limited initially. So you can imagine that it will have little effect on the social restrictions. Today we are starting to vaccinate 250 employees of Erasmus MC, but 14 thousand people are employed here. This is just a small start."
To date, 841,163 people have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Of that group, 11,999 did not survive.