In the past week*, the number of reported positive COVID-19 tests increased by 35% compared to the week before that. The number of people tested by the GGD was about the same. The downward trend in hospital admissions is flattening out. There were 14% fewer new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 last week compared to the week before. ICU admissions were also down by 16% compared to the previous week.*
Since late December 2021, the Omicron variant has caused the most SARS-CoV-2 infections in the Netherlands. This virus variant spreads considerably faster than the Delta variant. The latest reproduction number for 20 December 2021, based on the number of positive COVID-19 tests, is now entirely above 1 for the first time since mid-November 2021. In the next few weeks, as infections rise rapidly due to Omicron, the number of hospital admissions may start increasing again. This could happen even if the Omicron variant causes serious illness in a lower percentage of people who have a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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.
Downward trend in hospital and ICU admissions flattening out
The number of people with COVID-19 who were admitted to hospital decreased less quickly last week than in the two weeks before. In the past week, the number of people with COVID-19 who were admitted to hospital decreased by 14% compared to the week before, dropping to 981 new hospital admissions. The RIVM weekly updates on 21 December and 28 December reported that new hospital admissions decreased by 33% and 26% respectively. 164 new patients with COVID-19 were admitted to ICU in the past week, a 16% decrease compared to the week before. The RIVM weekly updates on 21 December and 28 December reported that new ICU admissions decreased by 27% and 25% respectively.
Most people currently hospitalised with COVID-19 were infected during the period when the Delta variant was dominant in the Netherlands. Hospital admissions of patients with the Omicron variant will increase in the next few weeks.
Increase in positive COVID-19 tests in all regions
113,554 positive test results were reported last week* (35% more than the week before that). Per 100,000 inhabitants, 639 people received a positive test result. The highest number of reported positive tests was in the age group of 18-24 years (Figure 1). Reported positive tests increased in all regions. The highest number of newly reported infections per 100,000 inhabitants was reported in Amsterdam-Amstelland (987), followed by Kennemerland (858), Zaanstreek-Waterland (831) and Rotterdam-Rijnmond (722). The lowest number of positive test results was reported in Limburg-Noord (425).
354,335 people were tested by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), about the same as the week before that (+2%). More people who had a positive self-test then went to the GGD to confirm the result; the percentage of confirmation tests rose from 13.5% of total GGD tests two weeks ago to 16.2% last week. Among this group of self-testers, the percentage of positive GGD tests was 88.5%. The percentage of positive tests among all people tested by the GGD rose last week from 23.4% to 30.8%.
Figure 1: Number of reported positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants, by age group (22 November 2021 to 2 January 2022).
People who tested positive for COVID-19 and have a travel history
In the past week, 6.5% of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 were known to have travelled abroad in the two weeks before that. This does not mean that all these people contracted the SARS-CoV-2 infection in a different country. Of those with a known travel history, 19.8% had been in Austria, 13.0% in France, 10.9% in Belgium and 10.6% in Germany.
Reproduction number R
The most recent reproduction number for SARS-CoV-2 based on positive COVID-19 tests is for 20 December 2021, and was 1.02 (lower limit 1.00 – upper limit 1.03). That means that 100 people who had COVID-19 on 20 December 2021 will collectively infect another 102 new people. In other words, the virus is spreading faster again. The R number is expected to rise in the next few weeks due to the Omicron variant.
* Positive tests reported to RIVM between 28 December 2021 at 10:01 and 4 January 2022 at 10:00. The number of tests in GGD test lanes, hospital admissions and ICU admissions are shown by calendar week.