Start of ‘autumn wave’: Almost 1,300 Covid-19 patients in hospital

Start of ‘autumn wave’: Almost 1,300 Covid-19 patients in hospital
Credit: Benoit Doppagne/Belga

In the last seven days, an average of 94.3 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day, the highest number since mid-August.

This marks a 28% increase from the previous seven days, and up from an average of around 83 hospitalisations on Friday last week, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Tuesday morning. This figure only includes the number of people hospitalised because of the virus.

The total number of people infected with the virus in Belgian hospitals increased from 1,080 on Friday last week to 1,294 (+39% since last week), while 74 patients were being treated in intensive care (24 more than on Friday last week). This number does include patients admitted with a different condition who later tested positive.

Cases, tests and deaths

An average of 2,823 new daily infections were identified between 24 to 30 September, up by 26% from the previous week, the highest figure seen in two months.

Meanwhile, the average number of tests taken per day increased slightly to around 12,700. The positivity rate has risen to 23%, meaning almost one in four tests has a positive result.

Pacheco test and vaccination centre in Brussels. Credit: The Brussels Times/ Lauren Walker

Omicron BA.5 remains the dominant strain, accounting for 92.3% of all infections. The strain is said to be no more infectious than the other Omicron subvariants but is effective at circumventing people’s accumulated immunity.

In the same week, the number of deaths caused by Covid-19 has climbed to a daily average of 3.9 (+42%), while the total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic is 32,690.

This includes people who died of another cause but who were infected, meaning it may be an overestimate of Covid-19 deaths.

Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations

The reproduction rate (the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person) has once again dropped slightly to 1.13 after surpassing 1.20 last week. When this figure is above 1, it means that the epidemic is spreading more rapidly in Belgium. The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has increased to 306 over the past 14 days.

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