Covid-19 hospitalisations drop below 100 for first time in seven months

Covid-19 hospitalisations drop below 100 for first time in seven months
Credit: Belga

The average number of Covid-19 hospitalisations in Belgium has dropped to below 100 for the first time since mid-October last year, while all other indicators continue to decline.

Between 13 and 19 May, an average of 91.3 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — down one-fourth from the previous seven days, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Friday.

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.

On Thursday, a total of 1,408 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, 56 fewer than Wednesday, while the number of people being treated in intensive care sits at 105. This number covers all patients who tested positive for Covid-19, including those who were first admitted with a different condition.

Cases and deaths

Between 10 and 16 May, an average of 3,536 new daily Covid-19 infections were identified, a 19% drop from the previous seven days, and the lowest since mid-October last year.

The positivity rate now sits at 21.3%, meaning slightly more than one in five tests have a positive result. The highly transmissible Omicron variant, Omicron BA.2, now accounts for 98.1% of all cases.

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

During the same week, an average of 9.9 patients suffering from Covid-19 died on a daily basis, down by 22% from the previous week. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic amounts to 31,675.

This figure 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.

Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations

The reproduction rate (Rt) is currently 0.84. 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 482 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, almost 7.14 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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