New Covid-19 cases drop below 4,300 for first time this year

New Covid-19 cases drop below 4,300 for first time this year
A Covid-19 testing centre at UZA. Photo by Helen Lyons/The Brussels Times

For the first time since late October, the average number of new Covid-19 infections dropped below 4,300, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Friday morning.

Between 3 and 9 May, an average of 4,296 new daily Covid-19 infections were identified, a 4% drop from the previous seven days. The positivity rate now sits at 24%, meaning just under one in four tests have a positive result.

The highly transmissible Omicron variant, Omicron BA.2, now accounts for 95.1% of all cases.

During the same week, an average of 11.3 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 32% from the previous week. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,613.

This figure also includes people who died of another cause of death, but who happened to be infected, meaning there may be an overestimate of Covid-19 deaths caused by the virus.

Situation in hospitals

Between 6 and 12 May, an average of 112.3 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — down 17% from the previous seven days.

This number reflects how many people are hospitalised directly because of the virus, not those who are admitted with another condition and then test positive for Covid-19.

Covid-19 patient in hospital. Credit: Belga

On Thursday, a total of 1,683 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, 28 fewer than on Wednesday, and the lowest since the start of November.

Meanwhile, the number of people being treated in intensive care sits at 105 (-6). The number of patients in intensive care has remained below 200 since 9 March.

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

Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations

The reproduction rate (Rt) is currently 0.87. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person. When it is below 1, it means that the epidemic is slowing down in Belgium.

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The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has dropped to 534 over the past 14 days.

As of Tuesday, just over 9.14 million people are fully vaccinated – 89% of Belgium's adult population and 79% of the total population. Meanwhile, more than 7.13 million people have received a booster dose of the vaccine, representing 75% of over-18s and 62% of the entire population.

The frequency of Sciensano's update on the epidemiological situation has also been adjusted: although it will "continue to closely monitor the Covid-19 situation in the country," it will only publish an update twice a week – on Tuesday and Friday – rather than on a daily basis.

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