The RIVM has released this week’s round of coronavirus infection numbers in the Netherlands — and while they are slightly lower than last week’s, the RIVM has said that the “convincing effects” of the current lockdown will not be seen anytime soon.
As the holiday season comes to an end, the Netherlands must wait and see whether restrictions were followed over the festive period. This week, 56,440 people tested positive for coronavirus this is a slight decrease from last week’s figure of 67,388.
Hospitalisations this week were only slightly down with 1,713 people admitted to nursing wards due to coronavirus (compared to 1,892 last week.) A further 336 people are now in the ICU, a number that is higher than last week’s ICU figure of 304.
The number of people who have passed away from coronavirus this week has risen, standing at 621 compared to last week’s number of 583.
In case you missed any of the other important coronavirus developments over the past week, here’s a quick summary of what happened:
Decrease in testing but increase in infection rate
Whilst fewer people were tested for coronavirus this week, the percentage of positive tests has risen when compared to last week. Last week, 13% of tests came back positive. This week, that percentage has risen to 13.7%.
The RIVM believes that the decrease in the amount of tests being done may be due to either; the positive effects of lockdown — less people believe they may have coronavirus, or, simply that people are less inclined to get themselves tested.
Earlier rollout of the coronavirus vaccine
For the Netherlands, the rollout of the vaccine could not come sooner. Luckily, 22 GGD regions believe that they will be able to begin vaccinating people before the initially planned start date.
According to the NOS, the regions of Amsterdam, Drenthe and Haaglanden will now begin vaccinating a week earlier than their initial start date. Instead of January 18, these regions will now begin vaccinations on January 11.
The remaining GGD regions are expected to begin vaccinations on January 15, three days before their initially planned start date.
Cabinet considering lottery ticket system for ICU beds
The Lower House is to consider implementing a lottery ticket system of selection in the case of a healthcare emergency. Currently, Dutch practitioners organisations have written up emergency guidelines for doctors to follow should there be a shortage of ICU beds for Dutch patients.
Under the current plan, in the event of an ICU bed shortage, certain patients will be given priority based on a number of factors: their expected length of recovery, whether or not they came into contact with coronavirus while working in healthcare and then, their age.
When considering a patient’s age, the current plan dictates that doctors should prioritise younger patients. The Minister for Medical Care, Tamara Van Ark, has written to the Lower House asking that age will not be taken into consideration when making this decision. Instead, the cabinet should consider a lottery ticket system of selection.
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