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The number of newly reported infections with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 stabilised in the past week*. The number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital stabilised, but ICU admissions continued to increase.

The number of newly reported SARS-CoV-2 infections stabilised in the past week (+1%). In the week before that, newly reported infections had risen by 39%. This stabilisation is probably due to the measures that took effect in mid-November. The reproduction number for 15 November dropped to 1.05 (lower limit 1.04 – upper limit 1.06). That means that 100 people who have COVID-19 will collectively infect another 105 new people. 

Hospital and ICU admissions

Based on current figures, the NICE Foundation has reported 1,996 new hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 during the past week. That is 2% more than in the week before. The ICUs admitted 367 new patients with COVID-19 last week, an increase of 22% compared to the previous week. 

Any stabilisation or decrease in the number of newly reported COVID-19 infections will likely take 1 to 2 weeks to become apparent in the number of hospital admissions, and will affect the number of ICU admissions even later. The same delayed impact was seen during the lockdown in December 2020. Hospital admissions decreased one week after the decrease in newly reported infections, followed by a decrease in ICU admissions another week later. Due to the extended treatment period required for COVID-19 patients, bed occupancy decreases later than the number of new admissions.

Testing

More than 667,000 people were tested by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) last week*, 6% more than in the week before that. 155,152 positive test results were reported in that week (1% more than the week before that). The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 decreased slightly in the past week, dropping from 22.2% to 21.4%. 

The number of positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants has decreased in the age group of 18-30 years (Figure 1). Newly reported infections continued to increase in the age groups of 0-12 years and 30-49 years. The number of positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants stabilised in the other age groups. 

Figure 1: Number of reported positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants, by age group (18 October to 28 November 2021)

Children

Continuing the trend, the highest number of newly reported SARS-CoV-2 infections was seen among children under 12 years old (see Figure 1). The number of positive tests increased with age, up to 12 years old (see Figure 2). That higher number of newly reported infections among children aged 0-12 years is partly due to the fact that children under 12 are not vaccinated and can have direct contact without restrictions. In addition, children aged 7-11 years are tested more often than children aged 12 years and older. As of this week, children with mild nasal colds are no longer allowed to attend primary school and must be tested by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs). As a result, more infections are likely to be found next week, and the number of newly reported infections in the under-12 age group may also continue to increase. 

Figure 2: Number of reported positive tests per 100,000 inhabitants, by age up to 19 years old (18 October to 28 November 2021)

Omicron variant

It was announced last weekend that the Omicron variant has also been found in the Netherlands in passengers returning from southern Africa. RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment is conducting additional research on the possible spread of this variant in the Netherlands. Important: Have you recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique or Zimbabwe, and did you return after 22 November 2021? Call 0800-5005 for a test appointment, even if you do not have any symptoms.

Measures

New measures to stop the spread of the virus were implemented last weekend. The basic measures are still fundamentally important. If we all stay home and get tested if we have symptoms, distance from others, and wash our hands regularly, we can prevent many infections and curb the spread of the virus.

* Positive tests reported to RIVM between 23 November 2021 at 10:01 and 30 November 2021 at 10:00. The number of tests in GGD test lanes, hospital admissions and ICU admissions are shown by calendar week.

 All the weekly COVID-19 figures are presented in a table and in graphs on the RIVM website.