Last week*, 1,266 patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection were admitted to hospital in the Netherlands, an increase of 7% compared to the week before that. New ICU admissions also rose to 118 (+42%). As of today, the backlog in reporting positive COVID-19 tests has been cleared. The rising curve of people with a SARS-CoV-2 infection seems to be flattening somewhat in the past week. The number of people who were tested in the GGD test lanes last week (977,564) decreased slightly, dropping by 4% compared to the week before.
New method for reporting positive tests
The number of reported positive COVID-19 tests rose dramatically over the past few weeks. Due to the high volume of positive test results, the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) has experienced delays in transmitting these figures to RIVM since 18 January 2022. As a result, the actual number of reported positive tests was higher than the numbers reported daily by RIVM. The reported positive tests from the GGD test lanes were first entered into a GGD system. From there, the reported positive test results were transferred to a second GGD system, where information from source and contact tracing was entered by hand. As of today, reported figures on positive tests will be sent directly from the GGD test lanes to RIVM; this includes the new reported positive tests and the previous positive tests that were not yet reported to RIVM. As a result of this catch-up action, RIVM will be reporting a particularly high number of positive tests today. More detailed information is available here (in Dutch).
Stabilisation in new SARS-CoV-2 infections
Figure 1 shows the positive COVID-19 tests, displayed per day of the test result; figures on the last few days still need to be supplemented. The positive tests received by RIVM this week (from Tuesday 1 February at 10:00 to Tuesday 8 February at 10:00) are shown in yellow, while positive tests previously reported to RIVM before Tuesday 8 February at 10:00 are shown in purple. Using the new reporting route, it was possible to catch up on the backlog today, adding 317,184 positive test results with a test result date from 18 January 2022 on.
Figure 1: Number of people reported to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, by date of positive test result. The figures for the last few days are not yet complete.
Positive tests reported to RIVM from 6 December 2021 to 1 February 2022 at 10:00 are shown in purple. Positive tests reported from 1 February 2022 at 10:01 to 8 February 2022 at 10:00 are shown in yellow.
Hospital admissions and reason for admission
In the week of 31 January to 6 February 2022, 1,266 new patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection were admitted to hospital (last week: 1.185, +7%), and 118 of those patients were admitted to ICU (last week: 83, +42%).
Reason for hospital admission** of new patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection
Since 25 January 2022, the NICE records have been expanded to record the reason for hospital admission** of new patients with a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who are admitted to nursing wards and to the ICU. This will allow better differentiation between patients admitted due to COVID-19 and patients who tested positive for COVID-19 but were admitted to hospital for another reason. Because this change is very recent, incomplete data on admission reasons is available for patients admitted between 25 January and 7 February 2022. The NICE Foundation is receiving more data from hospitals every day.
Figure 2: Admission reason for 1,410 of the 2,303 patients with SARS-CoV-2 admitted to nursing wards between 25 January and 7 February 2022, as recorded by 8 February 2022 at 00:00.
Since 25 January 2022, 2,303 patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection were admitted to hospital in the Netherlands. For 39% of these patients, the reason for hospital admission was not (yet) known; for 1,410 of the patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection, the reason for hospital admission was known. COVID-19 was the main reason or one of the relevant reasons for hospital admission in 81% of the patients with known admission reasons (see Figure 2). For 54%, COVID-19 was the main reason for hospital admission. In 27% of admitted patients with a known admission reason, the SARS-CoV-2 infection had exacerbated a pre-existing health condition. Without COVID-19, these vulnerable patients would not have needed to be admitted to hospital. In all age groups, COVID-19 was the most common reason or trigger for ICU admission.
Figure 3: Admission reason for 152 of the 166 patients with SARS-CoV-2 admitted to intensive care units between 25 January and 7 February 2022, as recorded by 8 February 2022 at 00:00.
Since 25 January, 166 patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection were admitted to ICU in the Netherlands. For 8% of these patients, the admission reason was not (yet) known; for 152 of the patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection, the admission reason was known. COVID-19 was one of the relevant reasons for ICU admission in 79% of the patients with known admission reasons (see Figure 3). For 62%, COVID-19 was the main reason for ICU admission. In 17% of patients admitted to ICU with a known admission reason, the SARS-CoV-2 infection had exacerbated a pre-existing health condition. Without COVID-19, these vulnerable patients would not have been admitted to ICU. In all age groups, COVID-19 was the most common reason or trigger for ICU admission.
Separate care protocol for patients admitted for a different reason
A separate care protocol applies to patients who have a different reason for admission, but also have a SARS-CoV-2 infection for which they do not require treatment. These patients will receive nursing care in isolation. Nurses, doctors and other hospital staff must wear special protective clothing while caring for these patients and during contact with these patients.
Reproduction number R
The most recent reproduction number for SARS-CoV-2 (24 January 2022) was 1.11 (1.10 – 1.11). This is slightly lower compared to the week before that (1.20 on 17 January 2022). Due to a technical malfunction in the data flow from 18 January on, there was a backlog in sending GGD data on reported positive tests to RIVM. That has now been resolved. The reproduction number in this weekly update was calculated during the backlog. As a result, the reproduction number may be somewhat lower than the actual figures. Now that the backlog in reporting has been resolved, the reproduction number will be adjusted as of Thursday 10 February.
Prevent the spread of the virus and help to prevent more hospital admissions by following the current \measures, even if you are vaccinated. Get vaccinated if you have not yet done so, and get the booster to refresh your protection.
* Positive tests reported to RIVM between 1 February 2022 at 10:01 and 8 February 2022 at 10:00. The number of GGD tests, hospital admissions and ICU admissions are shown by calendar week.
** The admission reason for patients with SARS-CoV-2 has been divided into 4 categories.
- Due to COVID-19: COVID-19 is the reason for the patient’s admission and the patient is treated for that disease.
- Combination with COVID-19: COVID-19 is one of the reasons for admission: the patient is admitted because COVID-19 has exacerbated a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes or heart failure. The patient would not have needed to be admitted without COVID-19.
- Other reason for admission: The reason for admission is not related to COVID-19: The patient is admitted for a different and does not need treatment for the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- Unknown: It is not (yet) known whether the reason for admission is related to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.