The number of Covid-19 patients being hospitalised as a result of an infection is continuing to increase in Belgium, but the number of patients in a life-threatening condition remains relatively stable.
Between 21 and 27 January, an average of 344 patients suffering from Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals per day — an increase of 34% on the seven days previous, according to the figures published by the Sciensano Public Health Institute on Friday morning.
On Thursday, a total of 3,694 people were in Belgian hospitals due to an infection, 111 more than on Wednesday. However, the number of patients being treated in intensive care remains relatively stable, now sitting at 357 (+5) while 171 (+1) patients are on a ventilator.
A UK analysis found that the risk of hospitalisation is lower for Omicron cases after both two and three doses of vaccine, with 77% to 85% reduction in the risk of hospitalisation after three doses compared to unvaccinated people who are infected with the Omicron variant.
As of Wednesday, more than 8.85 million people are fully vaccinated — 89% of Belgium’s adult population and 77% of the total population.
Meanwhile, almost 6.43 million people have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, representing 69% of over-18s and 56% of the entire population. The majority of adults should have had the opportunity to get a booster dose by March 2022.
Rise in infections continues
Between 18 and 24 January, an average of 52,043 new coronavirus infections were identified every day — up by 63% on the previous seven days. The Omicron variant accounts for around 96.5% of all cases in Belgium.
Meanwhile, preliminary figures for Monday (24 January) show that more than 73,000 infections were registered, which would break the previous record set on Monday 17 January.
The average number of PCR tests taken per day in the same period also increased slightly, as some 117,810.9 tests were carried out. The positivity rate continues to increase and now sits at 46.1%, meaning almost half of all tests undertaken are positive, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.
Despite the fifth wave starting one month ago, the number of deaths recorded on a daily basis remains relatively stable. During the same period, an average of 24.4 Covid-19 patients died per day, up by 13% since last week.
Total deaths in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic amount to 28,938.
The reproduction rate (Rt) has slightly decreased to 1.19. This figure represents the average number of people that contract the virus from each infected person, and when it is above 1, it means that the epidemic is gaining ground in Belgium.
The incidence (the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants) continues to rise and now sits at 5,098 over the past 14 days.