Covid infections up 50% in a week, especially among unvaccinated; Hospitalizations, deaths rising fast
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is spreading faster and faster in the Netherlands. The number of positive tests rose by 50 percent last week. The number of hospital admissions for treatment of Covid-19 increased by 34 percent in one measure, and by 55 percent in another. Deaths caused by the disease which were reported to the RIVM increased by 62 percent.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) received 38,733 reports of positive coronavirus tests during the past seven days. That is the highest weekly figure since mid-July. New infections totalled 25,751 last week, and 17,832 the week before that.
About one in five Dutch people aged 12 years and older have not been vaccinated, or have not yet been fully vaccinated. But, according to the RIVM, they constitute more than half of all positive tests.
The number of positive tests has increased in every age group, but especially among the elderly. For example, the virus was found in nearly 1,300 people in their eighties last week. That is 78 percent higher than the week before. The number of new infections rose by almost 75 percent among both those in their sixties and seventies.
Hospitalizations increasing fast
The number of hospital admissions due to Covid-19 is also increasing. Data from patient coordination office LCPS showed that hospitals admitted 796 patients with Covid-19 during the past seven days. That was 55 percent higher compared to the previous weeklong period. That includes 122 people sent to an intensive care unit, up about one-fourth compared to the 98 ICU admissions a week earlier.
However, figures from intensive care monitor NICE, also distributed by the RIVM, stated that 584 patients with Covid-19 were admitted this past week. The RIVM noted that the data may be incomplete, and could be revised at a later date. Indeed, last week's figure was revised up to 437 from 385. The current uncorrected figure of 584 already reflected a 34 percent increase in weekly hospitalizations, including 110 people sent to intensive care. That was up from 84.
The data from NICE and the RIVM showed that hospitalizations were at the highest level in five months. Intensive care admissions have not been so high since the start of August.
Deaths caused by Covid-19 rose to 78 during the seven-day period ending Tuesday morning, the most since the end of May. It mainly concerns people aged 80 and over, and. The previous period, the RIVM was notified of 48 such deaths, and 24 the week before that. There is no requirement to notify the RIVM of a death caused by Covid-19, and some notifications can take place after a delay of several weeks. That said, all but one of the 78 newly-reported deaths occurred recently.
Coronavirus reproduction falls slightly; More people getting tested
The reproduction (R) number, which indicates how quickly the coronavirus is spreading, actually fell slightly. It now stands at 1.19, down from 1.24 last Friday. A number of 1.19 means that a hundred people contagious with the coronavirus will infect an average of 119 others. They then transfer the virus to 142 people, who in turn infect 169 more people. When the R-number is above 1.00, the number of infections increases each step of the way. The R-number is determined every Tuesday and Friday as an estimate of the situation two weeks earlier. Newer data is not yet reliable enough to report an accurate current figure. Tuesday's R-number of 1.19 describes the situation on October 11.
Due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, the testing centers operated by the GGD are also much busier than before. The GGDs tested 224,430 people last week, and 15.3 percent of them were determined to be infected. That is the highest number of tests and the highest percentage of positive tests since July.
People had themselves tested more than 350,000 times last week so they could visit a restaurant, cafe, cinema, theater, or other venue. That is the second highest number since the introduction of coronavirus access testing in March. Of all people who completed an access test, 0.37 percent had the coronavirus, the highest percentage since the end of July.
The RIVM registered 2,093,606 positive coronavirus tests since the start of the pandemic.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.