Woman in supermarket

In the week of 7 to 13 April, 51,240 people in the Netherlands tested positive for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This is an increase of +6%, after the dip in the number of positive test results in the week of the Easter weekend. The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests rose from 8.9% in the week of 31 March to 6 April, to 9.6% in the past week. The number of people who were tested last week at a test site operated by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) was about the same as the week before that, at 490,428. The reproduction number (29 March) is just under 1 for the second week in a row. The number of new admissions of COVID-19 patients to hospital and ICU remained about the same; ICU occupancy increased (source: NICE Foundation).

Testing positive for COVID-19

From 7 to 13 April, 294 people per 100,000 inhabitants received a positive test result for COVID-19. That figure was 276 positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants in the week before that. In the security regions of Limburg-Noord, Zuid-Holland-Zuid, Rotterdam-Rijnmond and Brabant-Noord, this figure was considerably higher. More than 350 people per 100,000 inhabitants had a reported positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 in those regions last week. 

Varying trends can be observed in the different age groups. There was a relative decrease in the age groups of people over 80 years (-15%) and children under 12 (-7%). There was a relative increase in the age groups of 13 to 17 years (+15%) and 18 to 24 years (+5%), although there was no increase in testing in those groups last week compared to the week before. 

Hospital admissions and ICU admissions

1,700 new patients with COVID-19 were admitted to hospital in the past week. This is slightly fewer than in the week before, when 1,724 new ICU admissions were reported. 386 people became so ill that they had to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This is slightly more than in the week before, when 381 new ICU admissions were reported. ICU occupancy has increased. 

Ages of people admitted to hospital and ICU 

Since the end of February (week 8), the number of hospital admissions for patients with COVID-19 has increased in most age groups (Figure 2A). However, a downward trend has been observed since mid-February, exclusively in the age group of 80 years and older. In February, almost a quarter (24%) of these patients were 80 years or older. From March 2021 until now, 15% of the COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital have been 80 years or older. This decrease is due to the vaccination programme. In the period from 1 March to 11 April, 50% of COVID-19 patients admitted to a nursing ward were between 60 and 79 years old, 28% were between 40 and 59 years old, 15% were 80 years or older and 7% were younger than 40 years old.

Figure 2A: Age distribution of patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospital per week. From 1 February to 11 April 2021 (source: NICE Foundation).

Figure 2B shows that the number of new ICU admissions has been rising since the end of February. The age distribution has remained virtually unchanged since February. Just as in February, from 1 March to 11 April, 61% of the patients admitted to ICU were aged 60-79 years old, and nearly one-third (31%) were aged 40-59. The percentage of patients admitted to the ICU in the age group of 0-39 years remained stable and low (5%), as did the percentage of people aged 80 years and older (3%).

Figure 2B: Age distribution of patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICU per week. From 1 February to 11 April 2021 (source: NICE Foundation)

Reproduction number at 0.97

On 29 March, the reproduction number was 0.97 (lower limit 0.95 – upper limit 0.99), almost the same as the week before that. That means that 100 people with COVID-19 will collectively infect another 97 people. That is not yet enough to curb the spread of the virus. There were more than 163,000 contagious people on 29 March. 

Using a self-test? Stay alert 

If you do not have any symptoms, a COVID-19 test that you can do in your own home can sometimes be useful. It offers extra assurance. Self-tests are less sensitive than a test done by a professional at the GGD. Even if you test negative on a self-test, that does not mean that you can be absolutely certain you do not have COVID-19. For that reason, you should always follow the basic measures. 

Make sure that you only use self-tests from manufacturers who have been government-approved to offer this self-test in the Netherlands. Only use the self-test if you do not have any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, make an appointment for a test at the GGD test lanes right away. Did you test positive for COVID-19 on the self-test? Stay home, isolate yourself from others, and make an appointment to be retested by the GGD right away. This makes it possible for the GGD to start source and contact tracing, and lets you know for sure whether you need to self-isolate. 

Follow the measures, even after testing negative and getting vaccinated

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 and it will be possible to relax the measures sooner. Stay 1.5 metres from others, stay home if you have symptoms, get tested, and keep washing your hands regularly. This is how we can stop the coronavirus from spreading.