New Covid wave may have begun as patient total, new infections set new 40-day highs
Officially diagnosed coronavirus infections have been rising for four weeks in the Netherlands. A high number of people testing positive at the GGD over the past seven days is one piece of evidence suggesting the start of a new coronavirus wave, warned public health institute RIVM. The report published on Tuesday showed the most infections since August 13, with figures from the hospitals showing the highest number of Covid-19 patients in care since August 18.
“This may be the start of the expected COVID fall wave. Vaccination and testing are very important in this phase to prevent the numbers from rising sharply,” the RIVM said in a statement.
There were 631 people with Covid-19 in hospital care on Tuesday afternoon, the LCPS said. That was more than a third higher than a week ago, when 472 people were in hospital care. The current figure includes 35 patients in intensive care, up from 25 last Tuesday. On average, 85 people with the disease were admitted each of the past seven days, an increase from 61 the previous week. ICU admissions seem to be relatively stable, at four per day.
The LCPS counts all hospital patients who test positive for the coronavirus in their statistics, as the patients are required to be isolated from others, thus draining hospital resources. Data the RIVM uses, from Stichting NICE, only count those patients with symptoms of Covid-19 severe enough to require treatment. That data showed 333 new patients with Covid-19 were hospitalized last calendar week, compared to 249 the previous week, also a difference of 34 percent.
“More people are reporting complaints that may indicate a coronavirus infection.
Respiratory infections are more common in the autumn,” the RIVM said. “The coronavirus also spreads more easily in the autumn. In recent weeks we have seen that more people are getting the coronavirus and passing it on to others.”
A total of 12,269 people tested positive for any variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus over the past seven days, the RIVM said. That figure, which does not include people who only used a self-test kit, jumped by 39 percent in a week.
Germ surveillance continues to show that the Omicron sub-variant BA.5 is the most common in the Netherlands, as it has been since June. The RIVM believes this will be replaced by one or two other Omicron sub-variants, BA.2.75 or BA.4.6. This should happen later this year, and both variants could “continue to circulate side-by-side.” Defenses built up by either previous infection or vaccination are believed to be less effective against both sub-variants, however the RIVM maintained that neither is likely to cause more severe symptoms than previous variants.
Adding to the evidence that the Netherlands is in the midst of a new wave is the sewer water analysis. The number of coronavirus particles found in the water has been consistently on the rise since the end of August, which coincides with the summer school holiday wrapping up in all regions of the Netherlands. Particulate matter was only slightly higher during the calendar week ending on 18 September when compared to the previous week, with the most found in Amsterdam and Limburg-Noord. In the few days that followed, coronavirus particles found in the water rose further, with higher concentrations in IJsselland and Kennemerland.
Meanwhile, the basic reproduction (R) number stood at 1.03 on 13 September, up from 0.97 a week ago. The new figure means that 100 people who tested positive with the coronavirus on 13 September likely infected 103 others, who then passed the infection on to another 106 individuals. With a figure above 1.00, the number of known and undiagnosed infections is likely to rise higher.