In the week of 28 April to 4 May, there were 8% fewer new hospital admissions of people with COVID-19 compared to the week before. This also applies to the number of people who had to be admitted to Intensive Care with COVID-19.* Hospital and ICU occupancy and pressure on the healthcare system remain as high as before.
During the first wave of the epidemic (March to June 2020), and the second wave (July 2020 to January 2021), most of the hospital admissions involved older people. Since the arrival of the UK variant, the number of contagious people has been increasing, and more younger people with COVID-19 are being admitted to hospital or ICU than during the first and second waves. The largest increase in the number of people with COVID-19 admitted to hospital was in the age groups of 0-39 years and 40-59 years. It is still important for everyone to follow the basic measures.
The number of contagious people has increased even more, rising to nearly 188,000 people.
*Source: NICE Foundation
Hospital admissions and age of patients admitted
1,633 new COVID-19 hospital admissions were reported last week, less (-8%) than in the week before, when 1,774 people with COVID-19 were admitted to hospital. A total of 377 new ICU admissions were reported in the past week, about the same as in the week before, when 379 people with COVID-19 were admitted to ICU.
In the third wave (February 2021 to present), there has been a sharp increase in the number of people from younger age groups who are admitted to hospital and ICU with COVID-19. Compared to the start of the third wave (in the first week of February), the largest increase in new hospital admissions has been in the age groups of 40-59 years (+109%), 0-39 years (+75%) and 60-79 years (+50%) (Figure 1A). The effects of vaccination are clearly visible in the age group of 80 years and over, where hospital admissions have dropped significantly (-60%). Compared to the first week of February, there has also been a significant increase in the age groups of 40-59 years (+146%) and 60-79 years (+107%). ICU admissions have decreased in the 80+ age group (-17%). The number of ICU admissions remained low in the age group of 0-39 years.
Figure 1A. Hospital admissions by age group, per week (source: NICE Foundation).
Figure 1B. New ICU admissions by age group, per week (Source: NICE Foundation).
The number of contagious people – meaning people who are infected with the virus and in the phase of infection that they can transmit the virus to others – rose from 181,000 on 19 April to nearly 188,000 on 26 April. That means that it is still very important to follow the basic measures.
Figure 2. The estimated number of contagious people in the Netherlands from 1 August 2020 to 19 April 2021. The purple margin of uncertainty shows how much higher or lower the exact number could be.
Testing positive for COVID-19
410,855 people were tested for COVID-19 in the past calendar week. That is 16% fewer than the week before. The number of tests seems to have been influenced by the start of the May holidays. In particular, there was a decrease in the number of people tested who were under 18 years old. The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 rose from 10.6% in the week of 21 to 27 April, to 11.7% in the past week. The number of newly reported people who tested positive for COVID-19 was 52,087 (-6%).
In the past week, 299 people per 100,000 inhabitants received a positive test result for COVID-19. The reported number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants decreased in nearly all age groups (Figure 1). The largest decrease in the number of reported positive tests compared to the week before (-21%) was in the age group of 80 years and older.
On 19 April, the reproduction number based on reported positive tests was 0.94 (lower limit 0.92 – upper limit 0.96), dropping completely below 1.
On 15 April, the reproduction number based on hospital admissions was 1.00 (lower limit 0.88 – upper limit 1.14), nearly unchanged compared to the week before that. On the same date, the reproduction number based on ICU admissions was 0.99 (lower limit 0.72 – upper limit 1.29), slightly lower than the week before that. Due to the smaller data set, the calculations for these two reproduction numbers have a greater margin of uncertainty.
Follow the measures, even after a negative test result (or self-test) or after vaccination
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. By continuing the vaccinations and following the basic measures, fewer people will be infected and fewer people will be admitted to hospital. Stay 1.5 metres from others, stay home if you have symptoms, get tested, and keep washing your hands regularly. If you do have symptoms, even if they are mild, 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, have your household members start quarantining, and contact the GGD. This is how we can stop the coronavirus from spreading.