Number of cases in Brussels “greatly underestimated”

The number of people being admitted to a Belgian hospital with Covid continues to rise unabated.  On average during the last week there were 295 daily admissions linked to coronavirus. On Tuesday 411 patients were hospitalised.

On average, during the week starting 11 October, 8,975 people a day tested positive.  The figure is up 68% on the week, when the average stood at 5,345 confirmed cases a day.

Hospitalisations are up 94% in a week with 295 people being admitted on average each day during the week starting 14 October.  The previous week the average stood at 189.  262 patients were discharged on Tuesday.

2,969 patients are currently in hospital with Covid.  486 are receiving critical care. The breathing of 248 patients is assisted.

The average daily death toll is 32 compared to 18 a week ago.15.8% of tests are coming back positive.

The continued rise of corona cases was the subject of a news conference at the national crisis centre this morning. Steven Van Gucht of the health science institute Sciensano told reporters that it would be too early to see the impact of the latest corona measures. 

Last week over 10,000 people tested positive on four different days.  A record was set on Tuesday 13 October with 12,243 positive cases.  Cases rose by 68% on the week.  The figure is slightly down on previous figures and according to the virologist may be a first indication that the rise is slowing down.

“Today case numbers are doubling every 9 days, while five days ago the doubling was recorded in seven days.”

Prof Van Gucht labelled this “a slightly positive signal to stick with the measures”, but he readily admitted case numbers are continuing to rise.

One in five cases is reported among people in the twenties.  This is the age group with the highest number of new infections.

Prof Van Gucht: “However, we have noticed the steepest increase in the numbers among people over 70.  Figures are doubling every week.  790 over-70’s tested positive last week.  The previous week the figure was 300”

The virologist fears this increase will result in higher hospitalisations.

The highest number of new cases is being recorded in the provinces of Liege (1,651 a day) and Hainault (1,531 a day). The daily average for new cases in Brussels is 1,302.  This is 37% up on the week.  Prof Van Gucht is prepared to link this smaller increase to fresh regional corona measures taken in Brussels two weeks ago but adds testing capacity is under pressure in the capital. He notes that the figures for Brussels are a major underestimate of the real number of cases there.

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