Covid hospitalizations rose by 39 percent last week, but infections fall
The Netherlands recorded 39 percent more hospitalizations due to Covid-19 during the previous seven-day period, according to the LCPS. This contrasts with preliminary data shared by the RIVM showing a more modest 14 percent increase. In the health institute's weekly roundup of coronavirus data, the RIVM said that the number of coronavirus infections diagnosed last week fell below 430,000, representing a slight decrease from the previous week, although there were increases among older age groups.
Hospitalizations linked to the coronavirus infection jumped by about 39 percent since the last update from the RIVM, according to figures from patient coordinator LCPS. A total of 1,729 patients with Covid-19 were admitted during that time, the most in three months, including 110 sent directly to intensive care. The LCPS said that 1,247 patient admissions were counted the previous week, including 82 sent to an intensive care unit.
The LCPS figures include everyone in hospitalized care who tests positive for the coronavirus, regardless of the symptoms they exhibit. This is because those patients are isolated from the rest, resulting in an increased strain on hospital resources. The nonprofit organization NICE, which monitors the status of intensive care units, only counts those patients who are symptomatic. Their figures are cited by the RIVM for its weekly reports, even though their preliminary estimates are often 10-15 percent below the results shown in final data.
Thus far, NICE counted 1,545 new Covid-19 patients since last Tuesday, a 14 percent increase compared to the finalized figure from the previous week, 1,356. That final figure was revised upward by 185 after their preliminary report last Tuesday. By their measure, intensive care admissions rose from 86 two weeks ago to 91 last week, though that data is also likely to be incomplete.
The RIVM was notified last week of 104 deaths caused by Covid-19, nearly double the previous week's total. That was the highest figure reported since the report published on January 11. There is no requirement to report such deaths to the RIVM, and the health institute often receives notifications days or even weeks after a death occurs.
Covid infections fell by 2 percent, but not everywhere
Meanwhile, some 429,252 people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus during the week-long period ending on Tuesday morning. That reflected a 2 percent decrease nationally compared to the previous week. In last week's report, the surging number of infections was most intense in the regions where Carnival was celebrated. This week, the regional branches of the GGD noticed a decrease in those regions.
"In 15 of the 25 GGD regions, the number of infections increased," the RIVM said. As the week continued, there was a stabilization, or even a decline, in the number of infections reported both nationally and regionally. Utrecht represented the most residents testing positive (31,500), followed by Midden- en West-Brabant (30,100), and Brabant-Zuidoost (23,550)
Demographically, the sharpest increase in infections was measured among the older populations in the country. Infections more than doubled for people in their seventies to nearly 27,700, and those 80 and up tested positive about 9,100 times. There was also a 66 percent increase among those in their sixties to 48,200. Earlier in the day, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said that was one of the reasons why hospital figures started to rise again.
There was a 35 percent decrease in infections among people in their twenties, and yet that group continued to represent the highest number of infections, 76,600. People in their thirties represented slightly fewer infections. The number of infections diagnosed in people aged 10-19 dropped by over 20 percent to 41,500. Figures were stable among the youngest group of children, the RIVM said. About 16,000 children younger than 10 tested positive, which could be because of increased testing after the voorjaarsvakantie holiday period.
Even though the overall number of infections was down 2 percent, the number of tests conducted by the GGD rose by almost 5 percent during the last calendar week. The health service branches completed 625,649 coronavirus tests, compared to just over 597,000 the previous week. After peaking at an all-time record of 70 percent testing positive, the positivity rate fell to 66.2 percent this past calendar week.
The basic reproduction value also shot up from 1.00 to 1.27. That means that 100 people contagious with the coronavirus on February 28 passed the infection on to 127 others, who then infected another 161. They then spread the virus to another 204 individuals. When the R-value is below 1.00, it indicates the situation is improving. The higher the figure is, the more infections are expected to be diagnosed in the coming period, though it takes two weeks of data to estimate what the R-value was on a given date.