There were 1,878 new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 last week, 10% less than the week before. 332 new patients with COVID-19 were admitted to ICU, a minor decrease compared to the previous week (-4%).
More than 453,000 people (-27%) came to the test lanes of the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) to get tested for SARS-CoV-2 from 7 to 14 December 2021. The percentage of positive tests rose to 23.4%. The number of newly reported infections decreased in all age groups. The highest number of reported positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants continues to be among children of primary school age.
The Omicron variant of the virus is cause for concern worldwide and is also spreading in the Netherlands. RIVM monitors all the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is tracking incidence of the Omicron variant in the Netherlands. Because this variant is more contagious and will therefore lead to more infections in the next few weeks, the number of hospital admissions may start rising again. Prevent the spread and help to prevent more hospital admissions by following the basic measures, even if you are vaccinated.
Hospital admissions and ICU admissions
The number of new hospital admissions decreased slightly last week compared to the week before. The National Intensive Care Evaluation (NICE) Foundation recorded 1,878 new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 in the past week, 207 fewer admissions than the week before (-10%). 332 new patients with COVID-19 were admitted to ICU, 15 fewer than the week before (-4%). In the upcoming week, it will become apparent how the measures implemented on 28 November have affected the number of hospital and ICU admissions. Due to the extended treatment period required for COVID-19 patients, pressure on hospitals remains very high.
Positive COVID-19 tests
116,477 positive test results were reported last week*. Compared to one week before, the number of positive tests decreased by 21%. Per 100,000 inhabitants, 655 people received a positive test result. All age groups showed a decrease in the number of reported positive tests (Figure 1). The highest numbers of positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants were reported in the security regions of Zeeland (825), Limburg-Zuid (787), Midden- en West-Brabant (729), Kennemerland (720) and Zuid-Holland-Zuid (719).
453,680 people were tested by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), 27% fewer than in the week before that. Since Friday 3 December, the number of people making an appointment to get tested by the GGD has been decreasing. This may be related to the fact that people with mild symptoms van use a self-test. This only applies if they are not in a risk group, do not work in healthcare, and do not have direct contact with vulnerable people (for instance as informal carers). If you test positive for COVID-19 on a self-test, it is important to have the result confirmed by the GGD. This provides assurance that the positive self-test is not a false alarm and people and prevents unnecessary quarantine for the person who tests positive and for their household members. A positive confirmation test by the GGD can be used to obtain a COVID-19 certificate of recovery.
It is possible that the percentage of people who test positive for COVID-19 will increase in the next few weeks, because more people with a positive self-test will go to the GGD test lanes to confirm the result. The impact of the policy changes already seems to be visible this week. The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the GGD test lanes increased in the past week, rising from 21.3% to 23.4%.
Figure 1: Number of reported positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants, by age group (1 November to 12 December 2021).
The most recent reproduction number based on positive COVID-19 tests is for 29 November, and was 0.93 (lower limit 0.91 – upper limit 0.94). That means that 100 people who have COVID-19 will collectively infect another 93 new people. The spread of the virus is gradually slowing.
* Positive tests reported to RIVM between 7 December 2021 at 10:01 and 14 December 2021 at 10:00. The number of tests in GGD test lanes, hospital admissions and ICU admissions are shown by calendar week.