More than 1,300 Covid-19 patients in Belgian hospitals

More than 1,300 Covid-19 patients in Belgian hospitals
Credit: Belga

More than 1,300 people are in hospital as a result of coronavirus infections, as the number of new cases continues to rise in Belgium.

Between 20 and 26 October, an average of 121.3 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day, a 53% increase since the previous week, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, a total of 1,312 people were in hospitals due to an infection (20 more than on Monday), including 260 patients being treated in intensive care (-4), with 124 on a ventilator (+3).

Although the situation in the hospitals is worsening, it is more under control than it was in November, before people could get vaccinated, as between 6,000 and 7,000 people were in hospitals during that month's peak, despite the infection rate being similar to the one Belgium is experiencing now.

However, as a result of the increase in hospitalisations, all hospitals in Belgium have been asked to progressively revert to phase 1A within two weeks, meaning 25% of the approved ICU capacity must be reserved for Covid-19 patients.

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Between 17 and 21 October, an average of 5,555 new coronavirus infections were identified every day – a 76% increase from the previous seven days.

Although this increase can in part be explained by the fact that the average number of tests taken has increased by 32% since last week (65,561.6), the positivity rate itself has also risen, now sitting at 8.7%, up by 2% since last week - the highest rate since April.

As a result of the worsening epidemiological situation, Belgium's Consultative Committee announced on Tuesday evening that it strongly recommends returning to telework, and reintroduced all indoor face mask-wearing across the whole country.

During the same period, an average of 14.1 people died per day from the virus, up 6% from last week. This brings the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Belgium to 25,914.

The virus reproduction rate meanwhile sits at 1.27, after skyrocketing to 1.37 during the weekend. This figure represents the average number of people infected by each infected person, and when it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.

The incidence, which indicates the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, has decreased slightly and now sits at 529.5 over the past 14 days, up by 117%.

As of Monday, more than 8.68 million people in Belgium have received a first dose of the vaccine, representing 87% of the adult population, and 75% of the total population.

Meanwhile, more than 8.53 million people are fully vaccinated, accounting for 86% of the adult population in Belgium, and 74% of the total population.

Belgium has also started administering booster doses of coronavirus vaccines to people from certain vulnerable groups to keep the protection against the coronavirus sufficiently high. As of Monday, almost 523,000 people had received such a dose.

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