Dutch coronavirus situation deteriorating with 48% rise in infections; Sharp jump in hospitalizations
The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by almost half this week. Some 17,832 positive tests were registered the past seven days, compared to 12,016 the week before. That is an increase of more than 48 percent. The outbreak is now at its highest level since late August.
"The expected autumnal increase seems to have started," according to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
The number of positive tests increased in every age group. The virus was found in 1,434 children aged 5 to 9 years last week. That is 55 percent more than the week before. Among 45- to 49-year-olds, the number of new infections rose by almost 62 percent. An increase of almost 75 percent was determined among people in their seventies. There was a jump of almost 80 percent among the over-90 population, but the aggregate numbers remained fairly small.
The number of hospital admissions is also increasing quickly. Figures from patient coordination office LCPS showed a 46 percent rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations. During the seven-day period ending Tuesday afternoon, hospitals admitted 426 patients with the coronavirus disease. That includes 352 people who remained in regular care wards and 74 sent directly to an intensive care unit. The previous week's data showed 245 regular care patients and 47 more in an ICU, for a total of 292.
Intensive care monitor NICE presented data via the RIVM that showed there was an eight percent rise in hospitalizations, but that data is often incomplete when the RIVM presents its weekly report on Tuesdays. The RIVM said that coronavirus symptoms to a point where 281 patients required hospital care. The week before, the RIVM registered 260 admissions and 237 a week earlier. Of the 281 Covid-19 patients this week, 71 ended up in intensive care, compared to 46 the week before.
The number of reported Covid-19 deaths did fall. In the past seven days, RIVM received notifications that 24 people died as a result of the coronavirus disease. That is the lowest weekly figure since the end of July.
The basic reproduction (R) number, which indicates how quickly the coronavirus spreads, is also increasing. It now stands at 1.12, the highest level since July 8. It means that a hundred people with the coronavirus are likely to infect an average of 112 others. They then transfer the virus to 125 others, who in turn infect 140 people.
The R number updated every Tuesday and Friday, and is an estimate of the situation two weeks earlier. The model is not accurate enough to estimate the present situation. The R number of 1.12 is accurate for September 27. Last Friday, the number advanced beyond 1.00 for the first time in weeks.
A relatively high proportion of people contracted the coronavirus at a school or at the office, making them important “locations of infections,” the RIVM said. The source of infection is not known for everyone who tested positive, with the source identified in only about 30 percent of those diagnosed with the coronavirus this week.
Out of that subset, more than half were infected at home by another household resident. Household visits led to another 14 percent of infections.
Another 14 percent likely acquired the virus at a school or childcare facility, similar to last week. From the start of August through this week, about 10 percent of infections were linked to those locations.
The workplace resulted in 8 percent of traced infections, similar to last week but higher than in early August. Infections as the result of birthday parties, happy hours, and weddings are also becoming more common.
The GGD tested almost 158,000 people, the most in three weeks. That uncovered more than 16,000 infections. It was the first time since early September that more than 10 percent of all GGD tests came back positive. Just over 332,000 people were tested so they could visit a restaurant, cafe, cinema or theater. That is comparable to last week, but it also resulted in more positive tests. Of all people who had an access test, 0.15 percent had the coronavirus, compared to 0.1 percent the week before.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.