Omicron cases rising but lowest number of new Covid infections since Nov. 14
Eighty people in the Netherlands have now been diagnosed with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the RIVM said on Friday. That rose from 36 on Tuesday. The variant is believed to be more contagious than the more common Delta variant, which is most prevalent in the Netherlands. It was first discovered in passengers who entered the country on two flights from South Africa, but was later identified in samples taken as far back as November 19.
Out of the 80 people diagnosed with the Omicron variant, six people had no direct or indirect link to the Southern Africa region. Eighteen were on one of the flights from South Africa which landed on November 26. Another 53 had a travel history that included a country in the Southern Africa region. Three others had contact with someone who was infected with the variant.
At the same time, the RIVM also announced the lowest number of daily coronavirus infections in 26 days. A total of 17,562 people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection between Thursday and Friday morning, according to raw data from the organization. It was the fourth consecutive time the daily total was below 20,000.
That brought the seven-day moving average down to 20,070, the lowest level in about three weeks. Including some corrections to the raw data, that average was closer to 20,030, a seven-percent drop in a week.
Still, the percentage of people testing positive with the GGD continued to climb. During the period from December 2 - 8, an average of 23.5 percent of people tested by the health service received a positive diagnosis. That eclipsed a record average of 22.8 percent reported on Thursday. One possible explanation for the recent rise in positivity is that the government encouraged people to self-test before going to the GGD when the service was near its daily testing capacity. During the seven-day period, an average of 77,400 people were tested daily, down from a peak of 96,800 a week earlier.
The three cities with the most new infections were Amsterdam (650), Rotterdam (634), and The Hague (555). All three were reasonably close to their respective averages.
Hospitals were treating 2,803 people with Covid-19 on Friday afternoon, down two percent compared to the previous day. The hospital total has gone up by three percent in a week. A similar increase would push the total back towards 2,900.
The total includes 655 people in intensive care units, out of whom 20 are being treated in German hospitals. A day earlier, the ICU total was 644. Dutch hospitals were treating their highest number of patients in an ICU since May 19. When combined, it was the highest ICU total since May 17. The regular care wards were treating 2,148 people in regular care units, a net decrease of 56 after accounting for new admissions, discharges and deaths.
Dutch hospitals admitted 325 more patients with the disease between Thursday and Friday afternoon, including 52 sent directly to intensive care. On average, hospitals took 314 patients with the disease each of the past seven days. That was ten percent lower compared to a week ago.