Weekly coronavirus infections slashed by 27%, but ICU admissions up 15%
There was a steep drop in the number of diagnosed coronavirus infections for the seven-day period ending Tuesday morning. The weekly report from the RIVM showed a 27 percent decrease compared to the previous week. At the same time, intensive care admissions for Covid-19 rose by about 15 percent.
A total of 313,318 people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, down from 429,252. The most infections were diagnosed in people in their thirties, who tested positive 53,731 times, just a few hundred more than people in their fifties. Those in their forties tested positive 45,008 times, slightly more than those in their twenties.
The latest weekly total corresponds to about 1,785 infections per 100,000 inhabitants of the Netherlands. There was a measurable decline in per capita infections across all age groups, though the decrease was least substantial among people in their seventies and those older than eighty. The sharpest per capita decrease was in the 18-24 demographic, which saw a reduction of almost half.
People aged 13-17 showed a reduction in infections of over 40 percent, while those in their mid- to late-twenties also saw a decrease by more than a third. Those from 18-39 had represented the fastest rise in infections after the government eliminated most coronavirus restrictions at the end of February, coinciding with Carnival celebrations.
15% of infections tied to home visits, 6% in hospitality, 6% at parties
About 16,000 people were able to work with source and contact researchers to identify how they became infected. More than half of them were infected by someone else in their household, and nearly 15 percent caught the coronavirus after visiting another home. School and child care centers accounted for 1,800 infections (11.3 percent), and worksites and office spaces counted for 1,700 (10.5 percent). Under 1,000 people were infected at a bar, cafe or restaurant (6.1 percent), and just over 900 tested positive after stopping by a party or get-together (5.8%).
The province of Utrecht represented the most infections this past week, with over 25,000, while Drenthe (2,673) and Groningen (2,410) had the most infections per 100,000 residents. In previous weeks, those figures had skewed more heavily towards the provinces in the south and east where Carnival is celebrated more frequently.
Positivity rate above 66%, R-value falls to 0.87
The GGD health service branches showed a significant fall in the number of people tested for the SARS-CoV-2 infection last week. During the calendar week, the GGD completed about 453,000 tests, down from 626,000 the previous week. The positivity rate remained the same, at 66.2 percent.
Although the positivity rate was flat, the basic reproduction (R) value plunged to 0.87 from 1.27. That means that 100 people contagious with the coronavirus on March 7 infected 87 others, who then passed the virus on to 76 more people. They then infected 66 individuals. When the R-value is below 1.00, the number of coronavirus infections is expected to fall.
ICU admissions rise but hospital admissions flatten out
Intensive care admissions linked to Covid-19 were higher last week compared to the week before, but hospital admissions overall were practically unchanged. Dutch hospitals admitted 1,732 patients with the coronavirus disease during the past seven days, according to the LCPS, just three more than the previous week.
Out of that total, 126 people were sent directly to intensive care. That reflected a 15 percent increase. About halfway through last week, average daily hospitalizations hit a peak of 257, the highest reported since mid-December.
The LCPS includes all patients infected with coronavirus in its statistics, regardless if they have serious symptoms of Covid-19. The organization monitors hospital crowding. All coronavirus patients are kept in isolation, which taxes hospital resources. In contrast, Stichting NICE only counts those patients who are symptomatic. The RIVM shares their data weekly, but the NICE figures are often incomplete and are typically revised upwards.
Data from NICE showed that 1,616 people with Covid-19 were admitted into care during the preceding seven days. That preliminary figure was 7 percent lower than the finalized figure of 1,742 from the week prior. During the more recent period, 114 patients with Covid-19 were admitted to an ICU, showing a similar 15 percent increase as the LCPS reported.
The RIVM was notified of 95 deaths due to Covid-19 this past week, down from 104 the previous week. There is no obligation to report such deaths to the health institute, and sometimes those deaths are reported weeks after they occur.