Increase in coronavirus infection rate dropping, but number of people in ICU rises

The increase in the coronavirus infection rate is continuing to drop in Belgium, but the number of people in ICU and on ventilators due to the virus continues to rise, according to the latest official figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on Tuesday.

Between 20 and 26 March, an average of 4,751 new people tested positive per day, which is a 17% increase compared to the week before, down by 5% from Sunday’s seven-day average increase.

The total number of confirmed cases in Belgium since the beginning of the pandemic is 872,936. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died as a result of the virus.

Over the past two weeks, 537.6 infections were confirmed per 100,000 inhabitants, which is a 69% increase compared to the two weeks before.

Between 23 and 29 March, an average of 241.1 patients was admitted to the hospital per day, an increase of 18% compared to the week before.

In total, 2,818 coronavirus patients were in hospital on Monday, 127 more than the day before. Of all patients, 739 were in intensive care, 28 more than on Saturday, while 407 patients were on a ventilator, 25 more than the previous day.

Biostatistician Geert Molenberghs explained on Sunday that it will still take some time before the number of hospitalisations and deaths decreases, even if the number of new infections is slowing down.

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From 20 to 26 March, an average number of 26.6 deaths occurred per day, marking a 3.9% increase compared to the week before, down by 17.9% from yesterday’s seven-day average.

The total number of deaths in the country since the beginning of the pandemic is currently 22,921.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 11,026,592 tests have been carried out. Of those tests, an average of 66,872.7 was taken per day over the past week, with a positivity rate of 7.7%.

The percentage went up by 0.2% compared to last week, while testing increased by 21%.

A total of 1,236,554 people in Belgium have received at least one dose of vaccine against coronavirus, or 13.4% of the population aged 18 and older. In addition, 505,870 people – or 5.5% of the adult population – have been fully vaccinated.

The reproduction rate, meanwhile, now stands at 1.09, down from 1.12 yesterday, meaning that one person with coronavirus infects more than one other person on average and that the epidemic is growing in Belgium.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

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