RIVM thinks new Covid wave has started; Positive tests doubled in two weeks
The number of coronavirus infections diagnosed by the GGD is back on the rise, and is probably the start of a new coronavirus wave, predicted the RIVM. The public health institute does not know how high the number of infections can rise and when the peak will be reached. "We also do not know what it means for hospital admissions. That is very uncertain, but if the number of infections continues to rise, the number of hospitalizations will also increase," said a spokesperson.
During the past seven days, the RIVM received 15,526 reports of positive coronavirus tests. That is 64 percent more than the week before, and more than double compared to the week before that. It is the highest weekly total in seven weeks. A total of 2,887 positive coronavirus tests were recorded between Monday morning and Tuesday morning. That is the highest daily figure since April 21, almost two months ago.
The increase may be due to the advance of two new versions of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. "These are gaining more and more ground in the Netherlands," according to the RIVM. Those subvariants are not known to make people sicker than the earlier versions of the Omicron variant.
The institute is primarily monitoring the development of the pandemic by measuring the number of virus particles in the sewage water. Those numbers have also been rising for two weeks. The RIVM also uses a website, Infectieradar, where users can report any health symptoms and positive self-tests. The statistics collected by the website have been increasing, too.
The increase can be seen across all age groups. Relatively more infections were detected in the Amsterdam-Amstelland, Utrecht and Hollands Midden regions.
People are no longer have advised to visit a GGD test site to get confirmation that they have been infected, as a test conducted at home is considered sufficient enough. However, anyone who wants to visit the GGD for a test can still do so. More and more people are taking advantage of that. The GGDs completed more than 18,000 coronavirus tests last week, the highest number in two months.
Those tests also show that the positivity rate is rising. Last week, two out of three people tested were actually found to have the coronavirus. That is the highest percentage since the end of March.
The number of hospital admissions is also increasing. In the past week, 231 people were hospitalized because of their coronavirus infection, the highest number reported in preliminary data since the week ending May 10.
The total was 45 percent higher than the preliminary figure reported a week earlier. Last week, the RIVM reported in its preliminary data that 128 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, a figure which was later revised to 207.
Still, the RIVM calls the increase in recent hospitalizations limited. It also said that there is no rapid increase in the number of infections in nursing homes either.
Reporting by ANP