Rising figures, younger patients: recap of Friday’s Crisis Centre press conference
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Rising figures, younger patients: recap of Friday’s Crisis Centre press conference

Credit: Belga

The coronavirus figures in Belgium will continue to rise for some time, according to the National Crisis Centre which gave an overview of the situation in the country during a press conference on Friday.

Younger people admitted to hospital

During the summer period, half of the coronavirus patients admitted to hospital were younger than 60 years old, according to Sciensano’s figures collected over the summer.

“During the first wave, that was 71 years old. This corresponds to the fact that we are more likely to find infections in younger people now, between 20 and 50 years old,” said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht, adding that it is often the older ones of that age bracket who end up in hospital.

Of those in hospital, fewer patients required intensive care. “During the first wave, it was 14%, now 11%,” he said, adding that fewer people also needed artificial respiration.

“Little has changed in terms of length of patients’ stay in hospital. Half of them stay for at least seven days,” Van Gucht said. “Since patients are generally younger and have fewer risk factors since this summer, it is also noticeable that the risk of dying decreased during the second period.”

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More cases in residential care centres

The number of infections in residential care centres is also increasing, according to Sciensano’s figures. “This started in Brussels, then in Wallonia and is now also starting in Flanders.”

This is largely explained by an increase in a limited number of residential care centres, according to Van Gucht. “Nevertheless, the number of infections is increasing everywhere. On 6 October, 4 out of 1,000 care home residents in Flanders, 9 out of 1,000 in Wallonia, and 12 out of 1,000 in Brussels had a confirmed coronavirus infection.”

For the time being, only the German-speaking community remains unaffected.

“In Flanders, 95% of residential care centres have recorded no cases. In Brussels, this figure is just under 80%,” he said. During the first wave, only 10% of residential care centres across the country remained coronavirus-free.

Rising figures

With 2,916 new coronavirus cases per day in Belgium, the number of infections continues to rise, as do the number of deaths and the hospital admissions.

At the current rate, the number of confirmed infections will double every nine days, and the number of hospital admissions will double every 15 days, said Van Gucht.

The increase in figures will still continue for some time to come, according to him. On Monday 5 October, a record of 4,601 confirmed infections were detected. This peak will continue to be noticeable for some time in the weekly average, he said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times