Weekly Covid infections jump by 80% after Carnival to 440,000; Hospitality accounts for a fifth
Health officials in the Netherlands reported a dramatic increase in the weekly number of new coronavirus infections. Some 439,775 people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus during the seven day period ending on Tuesday morning. That was an increase of 79 percent compared to the previous week, when just under 246,000 tested positive
“This sharp increase is a combined effect of the Carnival week, and the relaxation of restrictions,” the RIVM said. It was clear from data updates over the last few days that provinces where Carnival is celebrated annually were hit the hardest.
”In various regions in Noord-Brabant and Limburg, the number of [infections] per 100,000 inhabitants has never been so high,” the RIVM said. The increase in infections was observed in all regions and across most age groups, with figures stabilizing among children up to the age of 12. The number of infections among 18 to 24 year olds shot up by 111 percent. That age group showed 5,150 infections per 100,000 people. There was also a doubling of infections among those from 25 to 29 years of age, with 4,731 per capita testing positive.
“Also striking this week is the significant increase in the number of positive tests in people aged 60 and older compared to a week earlier. During the Omicron wave in the first two months of this year, this age group remained stable and low compared to the large number of infections among younger age groups.”
22% of infections tied to hospitality sector
Source and contact research in the Netherlands carried out last week involved a random sample of nearly 4,800 people, out of whom 3,500 were willing to participate. In half of those cases, it could not be determined where someone acquired the infection, or the participant would not disclose the information.
Nearly 22 percent of those who did take part in the survey acquired the coronavirus infection at a bar, cafe, restaurant or nightclub. Over 17 percent tested positive after attending a party or a happy hour get together, and more than 14 percent were diagnosed with the infection after visiting another household.
The most common spread of the infection was among residents of the same household, and between partners who do not live together, which represented 40.6 percent of last week’s infections. Roughly 8.5 percent of infections were linked to the workplace.
The basic reproduction (R) value also shot back up from 0.77 to 1.00 in one week. That means that 100 people infected with the virus on February 21 passed the coronavirus on to another hundred people. The sharp rise coincided with the first relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on February 18, a week before nearly all remaining restrictions were eliminated.
Almost 595,000 people were tested by the GGD during the last calendar week, a 60 percent increase. Testing figures had steadily declined since the start of February.
Hospitalizations on the rise even in preliminary data
Preliminary figures from intensive care monitor NICE showed a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations. Final data from that organization is often delayed by several days, but still showed a 5 percent increase in hospital admissions over the last seven days compared to the previous period. So far, 1,171 admissions were reported, with the number historically rising by about 10 percent once finalized. A total of 82 intensive care admissions were reported to NICE this past week.
For the previous week week, 998 hospital admissions were initially reported, which was later revised upward to 1,118. That includes 98 intensive care admissions, which was revised up from 88.
The hospital data from NICE only includes those people actively treated for serious symptoms of Covid-19. Patient coordinator LCPS provides more up-to-date figures, by counting every patient with the coronavirus infection regardless of symptoms. The website for the LCPS was down on Tuesday afternoon, delaying the release of data for the previous 24 hours.
The RIVM also learned of 56 deaths from Covid-19 last week, down from 63 the previous week. There is no requirement to report such deaths to the RIVM, and can often be reported weeks after a death occurred.