Covid infections down 19 percent in a week; Hospital total rises 4 percent
With Dutch health officials still extremely concerned about the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, there was more evidence on Monday that the peak of infections caused by the Delta variant has passed. The RIVM reported that 12,220 people received a positive diagnosis for the infection between Sunday and Monday morning. That was the lowest single-day total since November 14.
It brought the seven-day moving average down to 14,082, according to raw data from the institute. A combination of raw and corrected data had the figure at 14,045, about 19 percent lower than a week ago. The average posted a decline 15 days in a row.
With people increasing using self-tests at home, the number of tests carried out daily by the GGD fell to an average of fewer than 55,000. That reached an all-time peak of 97,000 at the start of the month. Many of the tests the GGD now is now conducting involves people who want to confirm a positive self-test, and those who have had a known close contact with someone who already tested positive for the infection. Because of this, 24.1 percent of those tested between December 12-18 were diagnosed with the coronavirus, a new weekly record.
The Outbreak Management Team, a group of health experts advising the government about the pandemic, raised serious concerns about the Omicron variant on Thursday and Friday, leading the Cabinet to announce a strict lockdown on Saturday. The variant is believed to be more contagious than Delta, and able to evade the body's immune system, whether immunity was built up from a vaccine or from a previous infection. The Omicron variant was likely to become the dominant variant in Amsterdam early this week, and the dominant variant in the Netherlands by New Year's Eve.
Amsterdam led all municipalities with 547 new infections in Monday's data, about 10 percent below average. Rotterdam followed with 459, roughly 8 percent below average. Another 431 infections were found in residents of The Hague, nearly equal to the average there.
A total of 2,430 people were being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals on Monday afternoon. That was four percent higher than on Sunday, marking the first increase in a week, after accounting for new admissions, discharges, and deaths. The hospital total was still about 12 percent lower compared to a week ago.
The decrease is likely to continue for the next ten days, said acute care expert Ernst Kuipers. The hospital total is likely to begin rising again by the end of the first week of the new year. This will largely depend on how pathogenic the Omicron variant is. A grim projection from the RIVM showed that a peak of over 4,250 Covid-19 patients could require simultaneous intensive care treatment with only an evening lockdown, and not a strict all-hours lockdown.
There were 615 patients in intensive care units, a net decrease of 13 that brought the ICU figure to its lowest point since December 6. Nineteen of them were still in German hospitals. The other 1,815 were in regular care wards, a net increase of 101, the sharpest daily rise since November 29.
Hospitals admitted 1,600 people with Covid-19 during the past seven days, down 26 percent from the previous week. The figure includes 237 sent directly to intensive care, down from 270.