In the past calendar week, there were 22% fewer hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 compared to the week before. New arrivals in the ICU were also down by 22% compared to the previous week.* The largest decrease was seen in age groups that are already eligible for vaccination. Although the number of hospital admissions has decreased this week, there is still no sign of the decrease that the OMT wants to see.** Pressure on hospitals from COVID-19 patients is still very high at these levels.
The number of reported positive COVID-19 tests decreased by 10%. The number of reported positive tests decreased in all age groups, except for the age group of 18-24 years. 7% more positive COVID-19 tests were reported in that age group in the past week.
* Source: NICE Foundation
** The decrease that the OMT wants to see compared to the peak was not yet achieved in the past calendar week. The OMT recommends not relaxing the measures any further until the current 7-day average for new hospital and ICU admissions has decreased sufficiently. This criterion for relaxing the measures is not based on the differences per week that are reported here, but on differences in the running average over seven days.
Hospital admissions and age of patients admitted
1,379 new COVID-19 hospital admissions were reported last week, 22% fewer than in the week before, when 1,763 people with COVID-19 were admitted to hospital. 304 new ICU admissions were reported in the past week, also about a 22% decrease compared to the week before, when 388 people with COVID-19 were admitted to ICU.
The downward trend in the number of hospital admissions among people aged 80 and over, who were the first to be vaccinated, has been continuing for some time. The largest decrease in the number of new hospital admissions in the past week was in the age group of 60-79 years (-28%) compared to the previous week (Figure 1). The sharp drop in new hospital admissions in the age group of 60-79 years is probably mainly an effect of vaccinating increasingly younger groups. It is the first time since the start of the epidemic that more people under 40 have been hospitalised with COVID-19 than people aged 80 and over (Figure 1). At this point, more than 6.4 million vaccinations have been given.
Figure 1. Hospital admissions by age group, per week (Source: NICE Foundation).
Positive COVID-19 tests and regional differences
354,085 people were tested for COVID-19 in the past calendar week. That is 14% fewer than the week before. The number of tests administered in the test lanes operated by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) seems to have been influenced by the start of the May holidays. In particular, the number of people tested who were under 18 years old was lower than in previous weeks.
The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 rose from 11.7% in the week of 28 April to 4 May, to 12.3% in the past week. The number of newly reported people who tested positive for COVID-19 was 47,108 (-10%). This decrease was caused at least partly by fewer people getting tested.
In the past week, 270 people per 100,000 inhabitants received a positive test result for COVID-19. The reported number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants decreased in nearly all age groups (Figure 2), with the exception of the age group of 18-24 years. The number of positive COVID-19 tests rose by 7% in that group. The largest decrease was in the age category of 0-12 years (-30%), but this group was the least tested in the past week.
Figure 2. Newly reported infections by age group, per calendar week.
Reproduction number and contagious people
The reproduction number based on reported positive tests increased compared to the previous week. The reproduction number for 26 April was 1.01 (lower limit 0.99 – upper limit 1.03). On 19 April, the reproduction number was 0.94. The reproduction number based on hospital admissions dropped from 1.00 on 19 April to 0.93 (lower limit 0.80 – upper limit 1.06) on 26 April. On the same date, the reproduction number based on ICU admissions was 0.96 (lower limit 0.68 – upper limit 1.26), also slightly lower than the week before that, when R was 0.99. Due to the smaller data set, the calculations for the latter two reproduction numbers have a greater margin of uncertainty.
The number of contagious people – meaning people who are infected with the virus and in the phase of infection that they can transmit the virus to others – dropped from 188,000 on 26 April to nearly 149,000 on 3 May. It is still very important to follow the basic measures.
Follow the measures, even after a negative test result (or self-test) or after vaccination
If everyone follows the basic measures, even if you just tested negative for COVID-19 or have been vaccinated, then fewer people will be infected. By continuing the vaccinations and following the basic measures, fewer people will be infected and fewer people will be admitted to hospital. Stay 1.5 metres from others, stay home if you have symptoms, and get tested. Testing is still important if you have already been vaccinated. You can still become infected and infect others. Wash your hands regularly. Did you test positive for COVID-19 on the self-test? Stay home, isolate yourself from others, have your household members start quarantining, and contact the GGD. This is how we can stop the coronavirus from spreading.