In the week from 24 to 30 March, 51,866 people in the Netherlands received a positive test result for COVID-19, an increase of 13% compared to the week before that. The reproduction number was 1.07 on 15 March and has dropped somewhat compared with the previous week’s figure but is still fully above 1. That means that the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the Netherlands is still increasing. 1,578 people with COVID-19 were admitted to hospital in the past week, 65 more than the week before. 317 people were admitted to ICU wards, about the same as the week before*. The percentage of positive tests increased from 8.1% a week earlier to 8.5%** in the past week.
More than 552,000 people were tested for SARS-CoV-2 in the GGD test lanes in the past week, and the test results are known for more than 550,000 of them. This is an increase of nearly 33,000 tests (+6%) compared to the week before that.
Testing positive for COVID-19
In the past seven days, 298 people per 100,000 inhabitants received a positive test result for COVID-19. That figure was 264 positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants in the week of 17 to 23 March.
The situation is growing worse in nearly all regions. More than 350 people per 100,000 inhabitants tested positive for COVID-19 in six security regions: Zuid-Holland-Zuid, Limburg-Noord, Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Noord-Holland-Noord, Zaanstreek-Waterland and Brabant-Zuidoost.
Grafiek 30 maart 2021Skip chart and go to datatable
Figure 1: Number of reported positive tests per age category per week.
The number of reported positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants increased in all age groups (see Figure 1). The highest number of reported positive tests (per capita) continues to be in the age group of 18-24 years, at 422 reports per 100,000 inhabitants. The largest relative increase was in the age groups of 70 to 79 years (+19%) and 18 to 24 years (+17%). The age group of 80 years and older showed the smallest increase in the past week (+5%). The fact that the oldest age groups have not seen a major increase in positive tests can be attributed in part to the vaccination programme.
Increase among people aged 70+ living at home, further decrease among people living in nursing homes and residential care centres
Among people aged 70 and older living at home, the number of reported positive tests increased for the third week in a row, reaching 163 reports per 100,000 inhabitants. This increase can be attributed to a higher percentage of positive COVID-19 tests among the people aged 70 and older who are still living independently in their own home. The number of people living in nursing homes and residential care centres who tested positive for COVID-19 is continuing to decrease (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Reported positive tests among people living in nursing homes and residential care centres and persons aged 70 and older living independently at home, from 1 February to 28 March 2021, by GGD reporting date.
Reproduction number at 1.07
The reproduction number is still completely above 1. When the reproduction number is entirely above 1, the number of people who are infected is continuing to increase. On 15 March, the reproduction number was 1.07 (lower limit 1.05 – upper limit 1.10). This is slightly lower than last week, when the reproduction number was 1.11 (lower limit 1.08 – upper limit 1.14). A reproduction number of 1.07 means that 100 people with COVID-19 will collectively infect another 107 people. In combination with the 130,000 contagious people on 22 March, this means that there could still be a very significant increase in the number of reported positive tests in the upcoming period.
Explaining the coronavirus models used at RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment
How is the reproduction number calculated? How can you estimate how many people with COVID-19 will need to be admitted to hospital or ICU in the next month? What other models does RIVM calculate? And what does the OMT do with this information in its advisory reports? Jacco Wallinga, Susan van den Hof and Jaap van Dissel explain in a live session this afternoon at 16:00 hrs.
Sunny spring weather, but do not forget the measures
The weather forecasts are predicting several days of spring sunshine coming up. If everyone follows the behavioural rules for COVID-19, then fewer people will be infected and it will be possible to relax the measures sooner. So even if the sun is shining: stay 1.5 metres from others, stay home if you have symptoms, get tested, and keep washing your hands. This is how we can stop the coronavirus from spreading.
*Source: NICE Foundation
** Excluding results from large-scale testing in Bunschoten and Dronten. If the localised large-scale test results from these locations are included, the percentage of positive tests in the Netherlands is 8%; without the large-scale test results, the percentage of positive tests is 8.1%. The percentage of positive tests including large-scale testing is 6.7% in Utrecht (6.7% excluding those results) and 6.5% in Flevoland (8.2% excluding those results).