Coronavirus situation "deteriorating" as 46,005 tested positive last week
New coronavirus infections in the Netherlands jumped up by over 16 percent over the past week to 46,005. For the seven day period ending at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, about 8.1 percent of all people who scheduled their own coronavirus test received a positive diagnosis for the infection, up from 7.7 percent the previous week.
It was the first time in five weeks that the rate in which people tested positive for the virus showed an increase. It signified a "deteriorating" situation according to public health agency RIVM, with data showing that the testing statistics on Tuesday effectively wiped out two weeks of gains.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was slated to hold a press conference Tuesday night to discuss the extension of the curfew and most lockdown restrictions, including an expected decision to keep cafe terraces and higher education classrooms shut for longer. Since his last evening press conference on March 8, the seven-day average for new infections has increased by 45 percent to levels not seen since early January.
Return to schools linked to more youth infections
All age demographics reflected an increase in per capita infections, with the biggest rise seen in children below the age of 18. "The largest relative increase can be seen in the age groups 0 to 12 years (+ 23%) and 13 to 17 years (+ 29%). The number of tests administered also increased most in these age groups," the RIVM said in a statement.
"This is probably related to the reopening of primary education and childcare as of 3 February and the partial reopening of secondary schools as of 1 March," the agency added. The slightest increase was reported in the 70+ age group, which the RIVM said was likely because of the Covid-19 vaccination program.
As expected, the basic reproduction (R) number of the virus worsened from 1.06 to 1.11, meaning that 100 people contagious with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will pass the infection on to 111 others. Cabinet members have repeatedly said that the R number needs to be below 1.00 to significantly relax lockdown restrictions in the country.
Covid-19 hospital cases, deaths on the rise
Making matters worse, Covid-19 hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and reported deaths all rose last week, as well. The RIVM said that 1,128 people were admitted to the regular care nursing wards in hospitals through Tuesday morning, an increase of seven percent.
Another 313 people with the coronavirus disease were sent to an intensive care unit, reflecting a 14 percent increase. The RIVM also learned of 223 deaths caused by Covid-19, up from 204 the previous week.
To date, people in the Netherlands tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 infection 1,213,366 times, including 16,339 people who were diagnosed and died from Covid-19. Over 45 thousand people have been hospitalized in regular care wards with Covid-19 over the past 14 months, with a survival rate of 86 percent. Of the 9,664 people with Covid-19 treated in intensive care, just 72 percent survived the ordeal.