Coronavirus positive test rate at lowest point in 23 weeks; Youth infections rising
An examination into the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands over the past week showed that even though nearly 32 thousand people were diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection, there was a large increase in the number of tests carried out to detect the viral infection. That pushed the percentage of positive tests from the GGD down to 8.1 percent, the lowest it has been in 23 weeks.
By comparison, the positivity rate was 8.9 percent last week, and 13.6 percent the week ending December 22 when the Netherlands entered a stricter lockdown. It was last at 8.0 percent the week ending September 29.
For the week ending the morning of Tuesday, March 9, hospitals took on 1,145 patients diagnosed with Covid-19, a decrease of nearly four percent. While there was nearly a ten percent drop in admissions to regular care wards, there was a 22 percent increase in intensive care admissions to 271. Deaths linked to Covid-19 also fell by 13 percent last week to 269, the RIVM said.
Some 31,959 people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus through Tuesday morning, just 25 fewer than the previous week. During the last seven days, municipal health service GGD completed 361,400 tests on people who scheduled their own appointment, an increase of nearly 44 thousand.
The group showing the biggest drop in per capita infections, -13 percent, were those over 70 years of age. "This week we are again seeing a decrease in the number of infections in nursing homes and residential care centers. The vaccination drive is bearing fruit there," public health agency RIVM said in a statement. Through March 8, the Netherlands has administered 1,656,245 vaccine doses, to about 1.2 million people.
The agency also raised concerns about rising infections among people under 25 in the country, particularly as all age categories above 25 showed a per capita decrease in new coronavirus cases. The largest increase was a 13-percent rise in the 18-24 age demographic, though that group was also the second most likely to get tested for the viral infection.
The basic reproduction (R) number of all viral variants combined was at 0.98, meaning 100 contagious people will infect 98 others, though the most common variant, B117, had an R-number of 1.06. "Only if this number is completely below one can the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the Netherlands go down," the RIVM said.
If members of the public are wondering if they should get tested for the infection they should just schedule the appointment and get it done, the RIVM said. "Because the more often people get tested and stay at home when they have coronavirus, the greater the chance that we can contain the virus."
To date, people in the Netherlands have tested positive for the coronavirus infection 1,128,202 times. A total of 15,917 of them died from Covid-19. Hospitals have had to treat over 52 thousand people for Covid-19 since the end of February 2020, including nearly 9,100 who needed intensive care.