Rise in Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations in Belgium

Rise in Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations in Belgium
Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

An average of 2,232 new daily infections were identified between 17 and 23 September, up by 21% from the previous week.  The figures are similar to the numbers recorded at the start of August.

The average number of tests taken per day has also increased slightly to 11,600, while the positivity rate sits at 19.9%, meaning one in five tests has a positive result, according to figures published by the Sciensano Institute of Public Health on Tuesday morning.

Omicron BA.5 remains the dominant strain, accounting for 92.4% of all infections. The strain is said to be no more infectious than the other Omicron subvariants but is effective at circumventing people’s accumulated immunity.

Despite this increase, the number of Covid-19 patients that died each day in the same week dropped to an average of 2.6— a decrease of 61%. The total number of deaths in Belgium since the start of the pandemic is 32,659.

This includes people who died of another cause but who were infected, meaning it may be an overestimate of Covid-19 deaths.

Situation in Belgian hospitals

In the last seven days, an average of 73.1 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each day — a 41% increase from the previous seven days. This figure only includes the number of people hospitalised because of the virus.

Credit: Belga

Meanwhile, a total of 925 people in Belgian hospitals were infected with the virus on Monday, up by around 200 from two weeks ago, while 57 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care. This number does include patients admitted with a different condition who later tested positive.

Reproduction rate, incidence, and total vaccinations

The reproduction rate (the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person) has hiked up to 1.23. When it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is spreading more rapidly in Belgium. The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) has increased to 247 over the past 14 days.

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As of Saturday, almost 7.2 million people have now received a booster dose of the vaccine, representing 76% of over-18s and 62% of the entire population, while around 1.62 million people have received a second booster dose – equivalent to 14% of the total population. This group mainly consists of people aged over 65 at the moment.

Belgium's regions will soon start inviting a broader group of the general population for additional booster shots from the end of September onwards, or the start of October, depending on the region. Find out why this latest jab is important.

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