The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals is soaring in Belgium, however, the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has once again dropped below 7,000.
Between 26 October and 1 November, an average of 6,928 new coronavirus infections were identified every day – a 13% increase from the previous seven days, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Friday morning.
The number of tests being taken increased by 16% (80,119.6), while the positivity rate has risen by 0.8% since last week, now sitting at 9.8% – the highest rate since April.
However, according to virologist Steven Van Gucht, the increase in the number of coronas infections is realistically closer to 35%, as due to the holiday of 1 November, far fewer tests were taken and therefore fewer positive cases were detected.
During the same period, an average of 21.4 people died per day from the virus, up 38% from last week, and the highest since April this year. This brings the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Belgium to 26,105.
Between 29 October and 4 November, an average of 171.9 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day, a 33% increase since the previous week.
On Thursday, a total of 1,899 people were in hospitals due to an infection (44 more than on Wednesday), including 364 patients being treated in intensive care (+23), with 172 on a ventilator (+9).
Although the increase in the number of people dying or being hospitalised due to Covid-19 was expected as a result of the rise in cases, it likely won’t reach the same levels as during previous peaks, when more than 7,000 people were hospitalised.
“But that it will reach a level that it will have an impact on other care is regrettable. The hope is that we can stay under 500 beds, which will allow for a combination of covid care and non-covid care that is reasonable,” intensivist Geert Meyfroidt (UZ Leuven) told VRT News.
The virus reproduction rate meanwhile has slightly increased to 1.20. This figure represents the average number of people infected by each infected person, and when it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.
The incidence, which indicates the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, has decreased slightly and now sits at 791.9 over the past 14 days, up by 120%.
As of Wednesday, more than 8.71 million people in Belgium have received a first dose of the vaccine, representing 88% of the adult population, and 76% of the total population.
Meanwhile, more than 8.57 million people are fully vaccinated, accounting for 86% of the adult population in Belgium, and 74% of the total population.
Belgium has also started administering booster doses of coronavirus vaccines to people from certain vulnerable groups to keep the protection against the coronavirus sufficiently high. As of Wednesday, almost 658,000 people had received such a dose.