Weekly positive coronavirus tests still increasing, but slower; Hospitalizations double in a month
The number of new coronavirus infections recorded in the Netherlands has again increased substantially, but the growth was slightly less than in recent weeks. During the past seven days, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) registered 53,979 positive tests for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The number of confirmed infections is about 39 percent higher than last week, when the institute reported 38,733 cases. That was 50 percent more than the week before. The week before that, the number of positive tests rose by about 44 percent.
Due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases, the test sites run by the municipal health services have also become much busier. The GGD health services tested 285,254 people last week, the highest number since mid-July. Of these, 16.7 percent were found to be infected, the highest percentage since October 2020 during the second wave of infections.
More than 325,000 people got tested last week so they could be allowed to enter a restaurant, cafe, cinema or theater. Of these, 0.54 percent had the coronavirus among their members, the highest percentage of positive access tests since July.
The basic reproduction (R) number, which indicates how quickly the coronavirus is spreading, remained fairly stable. It is now at 1.20, down from 1.26 on Friday, and about the same as a week ago. When the R-number equals 1.20, it means 100 people contagious with the coronavirus pass the infection on to 120 others. They then give it to 144 others, who in turn infect 173 more.
The R number is most accurately determined every Tuesday and Friday based on the situation in the country two weeks earlier. Tuesday's figure of 1.2 describes the situation on October 18.
Covid-19 hospitalizations up sharply this week
The number of hospitalizations and deaths linked to Covid-19 is also rising rapidly. Figures from patient coordination office LCPS show that 1,152 people with Covid-19 were admitted to Dutch hospitals during the past seven days, which includes over 230 just between Monday and Tuesday afternoon. The weekly total was 45 percent higher than a week ago. The total includes 128 patients sent directly to intensive care, compared to 122 a week ago.
The RIVM released preliminary data from intensive care monitor NICE which showed that 834 people had symptoms of Covid-19 which were serious enough to justify hospitalization. That was the highest figure released by the organization since mid-May. The total was 31 percent higher than a week ago, when 635 patient admissions were registered, the latter figure being corrected data that was revised up. The week before that, 458 people were hospitalized, and 337 a week earlier.
Thus, by any measure, the influx of Covid-19 patients has doubled within a month, the period immediately following the elimination of most coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands. Of the 834 patients NICE knew about, 140 ended up in an intensive care unit. That is twice as many as three weeks ago.
In the past week, the RIVM received 102 reports that a person with Covid-19 died as a result of the disease. That is the highest number since May, more than five months ago. Last week, the RIVM reported that it had received 78 notifications that someone with the disease had died, and 48 the week before that.The vast majority of people who died were already of an advanced age, but the deceased include people in their twenties and fifties.
There is no obligation to report Covid-19 deaths to the RIVM, and some notifications can be received weeks or months later. The data from the RIVM showed that the 102 deaths reported the past seven days occurred since mid-October.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.