A general practitioner who treated patients in the commune of Kruisem in East Flanders without wearing a face mask infected seven people, test results revealed.
Initially it was feared the man, a 68-year-old named as Leon G. who had tested positive a week before, may have infected as many as 100 patients before the case was discovered.
Earlier, the municipality had called in the medical expert for the Flemish Ardennes area when there was a sudden spike in cases.
In the end 95 contacts were traced and tested, and seven found to be positive for the virus.
“That is a lot fewer than expected,” said a spokesperson for the Flemish healthcare agency. It is not possible to determine whether the seven positives were actually infected by Dr. G.
“Fortunately, the number of people who became infected has remained very limited,” said Joris Moonens of the agency.
“Typically, about 15% of high-risk contacts test positive. In this case, that number is a lot lower. The people who tested positive are now in isolation. That allows us to close down this minor outbreak, thanks to the intervention of local staff to follow up on this very quickly.”
Kruisem mayor Joop Verzele (CD&V) agreed. “They acted very quickly. The primary care zone, the GP community and our own services sprang into action. Now we see that the results are very good, we can be satisfied with how everything went,” he said.
The situation could have turned out a lot worse, he said.
“People quickly panic, but all in all the residents have reacted positively. They were pleased with the quick reactions provided. One person who tested positive contacted me afterwards and thanked us for the good way of working.”