Covid-19 situation in Belgian hospitals continues to improve

Covid-19 situation in Belgian hospitals continues to improve
Credit: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

Between 19 and 25 February, an average of 172 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day – a decrease of 25% on the seven days previous, according to the figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Saturday morning.

This number reflects how many people end up in hospital specifically because of the virus, not those who are admitted with another condition and then test positive for the coronavirus.

On Friday, a total of 2,503 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, 104 fewer than on Thursday, of whom 250 people were being treated in intensive care (-19) and 115 (-9) patients were on a ventilator.

This number covers all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, including those who were first admitted with a different condition.

Fewer than 8,000 new infections

Between 16 and 22 February, an average of 7,702 new coronavirus infections were identified every day – a 35% decrease on the previous seven days.

The Omicron variant currently accounts for just 63.6% of all cases in Belgium, down 11% since last week, while the Omicron BA.2 variant is accounting for almost 30%.

The average number of PCR tests taken per day in the same period declined by 19% to 40,124. The positivity rate now sits at 22.3%, meaning around 22 out of 100 tests have a positive result.

During the same week, an average of 32.3 Covid-19 patients died on a daily basis, down by 33% since last week. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 30,121.

It is important to note that the official death statistics include people who died of another cause of death, but who happened to be infected, meaning they are an overestimate of the deaths caused by the virus.

Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations

The reproduction rate (Rt) remains stable at 0.82. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person, and when it is below 1, it means that the epidemic is losing ground in Belgium.

The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) is continuing to decrease and now sits at 1,186 over the past 14 days.

As of Wednesday, more than 9 million people are fully vaccinated – 89% of Belgium's adult population and 79% of the total population.

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Meanwhile, more than 6.97 million people have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, representing 74% of over-18s and 61% of the entire population. The majority of adults should have had the opportunity to get a booster dose by March 2022.

A recent study from the United Kingdom's Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that booster vaccinations are estimated to have prevented 105,600 people from ending up in hospitals following a Covid-19 infection since mid-December.

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