Coronavirus: 41% of care centre residents with symptoms tested positive
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    Coronavirus: 41% of care centre residents with symptoms tested positive

    Credit: Belga

    Of all residents in residential care homes with symptoms of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), less than half have tested positive for the virus so far, according to Flemish Minister for Welfare Wouter Beke.

    At the moment, about a third of all residents have been tested (about 15,000), of which just under 13.5% tested positive for the virus. Of the 46% of staff members who have been tested (about 31,000), 4% tested positive, Beke told the Welfare commission on Tuesday.

    At the beginning of April, Beke was slammed for taking delayed action on nursing homes and residential care centres, following a shortage of test kits and a growing number of deaths and cases.

    Of the residents who showed symptoms, such as coughing or fever, only 41% tested positive for the coronavirus. This means, that almost 60% is not infected, despite showing symptoms of the illness.

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    This is very important information to prevent sick residents who are not infected with the virus from being placed in the ward for the coronavirus patients, and run the risk of becoming infected after all, according to Beke.

    53% of the total 7,331 deaths reported on Tuesday were reported by residential care centres, according to figures from the Federal Public Health Service. This number also includes suspected deaths.

    “Of course, this does not reduce the number of deaths, but it changes their interpretation,” said Beke. “Above all, it indicates that those figures need some nuance,” he added. 55.5% of all centres in Flanders have not detected any coronavirus infections so far, and in 26%, less than 10% of the residents are infected.

    4.2% of the care centres have recorded a larger outbreak, with over 30% of its residents confirmed or suspected infected. “These are encouraging figures. The majority of residential care centres can keep the virus out,” said Beke. “It is now important to keep it that way,” he added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times