4,013 new COVID-19 infections were reported last week. The number of newly identified infections is about the same as last week. The number of hospitalisations and deaths has increased.
There are major regional differences in the number of confirmed cases. The highest numbers of newly identified infections were reported in the province of South Holland. Following that, the highest numbers were reported in the provinces of North Holland and North Brabant. Within North Brabant, most of the confirmed cases were reported in the west of this province. Per number of inhabitants, the number of confirmed cases reported in the provinces of Utrecht and Flevoland has also increased. (see epidemiological report, only in Dutch)
All age groups have shown an increase in the number of confirmed cases reported in recent weeks. The highest number of confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants was seen in the age group of 20-29 years old. See Figure 1.
Figure 1. Number of confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants, by age group, in the past 6 weeks.
Hospital admissions, nursing wards and intensive care
Hospital admissions (current or previous) due to COVID-19 were reported during the past week for 50 patients. That is 12 more than last week, an increase of 32%. Although there has been a greater increase in the number of infections among younger age groups than among the elderly, there has not been any shift in age structure in hospital admissions over the last 6 weeks. Just as in March, April and May, approximately 70% of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital in the past 6 weeks are 60 years or older. See Figure 2.
Figure 2. Number of hospital admissions reported per week from 24 February to 5 July 2020 (left) and from 6 July to 16 August 2020 (right). The actual number of hospital admissions in the week of 10 to 16 August is probably higher, since the data may be supplemented at a later date.
The National Intensive Care Evaluation Foundation (NICE) also reported an increase in the number of patients admitted to intensive care last week due to COVID-19. In the past week, NICE reported 25 new admissions to intensive care. The week before that, there were 18 new patients admitted to ICU.
16 deaths of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients were reported, 7 more than the week before.
Percentage of positive tests this week is 3.5%
Between 10 and 16 August, the number of people tested at the GGD test sites was 102,487*, an increase of about 3,500 people tested compared to the previous week. Of the people who were tested last week and whose test results are now known, 3.5% tested positive for COVID-19. That percentage was 3.6% in the week of 3 August. The percentage of positive tests was about the same as last week in most regions. The highest percentage of positive tests (4%-8%) was seen in the GGD regions of Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Amsterdam, Haaglanden, West-Brabant, and Zuid-Holland-Zuid. These are also the regions where most of the known clusters are located.
Reproduction number R remains above 1
The reproduction number (R) indicates how many other people are infected on average by one person who has the novel coronavirus. The reproduction number is 1.19. This means that 100 people who are infected with the novel coronavirus will collectively infect another 119 people. Compared to last week, when the reproduction number was 1.20, the number has hardly changed. The confidence interval is still entirely above 1.
COVID-19 infection clusters increased by 59
There are currently 438 known active COVID-19 clusters in the Netherlands. That is 59 more than the week before. A cluster consists of three or more related infections. Over the past week, the average size of these clusters was 5.6 people (range: 3-45). Most clusters have been reported within the home (155), where the size of the clusters ranged from 3 to 19 people. This is followed by the infections through contact with family members and friends and at parties, in the workplace, in nursing homes, and during holidays.
Source and contact tracing
Due to the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases being reported, since the first week of August (week 32), some GGD regions that are receiving many reports are no longer individually entering all contacts in the registration system. For this reason, some of the results of the source and contact tracing are presented in the epidemiological report up to week 31.
There is now more insight into the number of contacts per infected person who are not defined as close contacts. These ‘non-close contacts’ are people who were in the same room as the infected person for longer than 15 minutes, but at a distance of 1.5 metres or more. These contacts are not registered on an individual basis, but as a total number per infected person. In the period from week 27 to week 31, an average of 6 non-close contacts were registered per infected person. The data on non-close contacts will be added to the epidemiological report in the coming weeks.
Infection and travel history
Since 1 July, the international travel history of people who tested positive for COVID-19 has been requested. In the past week, 738 persons who tested positive for COVID-19 had been in a different country in the 14 days before the start of the confirmed infection. That is 333 more reports than the week before, when 405 people tested positive who had a recent travel history. The highest number of people who tested positive and had a travel history had been to France: 26%. This is followed by travellers to Spain (25%), Turkey (9%) and Malta (8%). This does not mean that all these people contracted the infection in a different country.
To prevent the virus from continuing to spread, it is important for people to comply with the measures: Keep your distance, and stay home and get tested if you have symptoms. Wash your hands, sneeze and cough into your elbow, and use paper tissues.