Cyprus reported four deaths, 1,046 new coronavirus cases and 264 hospitalisations on Thursday, up on all levels from Wednesday’s figure of three deaths, 1,014 and 243, respectively, as the strain on state hospitals is getting bigger.
The number of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalisation has rocketed in the past 11 days, pushing the country’s health system towards a breaking point.
COVID patients in hospitals nearly doubled from 125 on July 10, to 243 on Wednesday, a 94.3% spike that has led to routine operations being suspended, spokesperson for the health services organisation (OKYPY) Charalampos Charilaou said.
He added that new Covid wards opened in Limassol and two more are expected in Larnaca and Paphos general hospitals this week.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that two women aged 69 and 74, and two men (85 and 87) raised the death toll for July to 20 and to 398 since the pandemic started. Most of the deaths were reported this week.
From 243 patients admitted by Wednesday night, that number rose to 264, and the critical cases increased from 63 to 68. The health ministry said 90.2% of hospitalisations are people who have not been vaccinated, down from 92.2% the previous day.
16,000 tests at public organisations
Some 89,188 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on Wednesday, including about 16,000 results of weekly tests at businesses and large public organisations.
Based on the total number of infections and an increase in tests, the national ‘test positivity’ rate dropped to 1.17% from Wednesday’s 1.39%, still higher than the benchmark high-risk level of 1.00%, which had peaked at above 2.00% last week.
Thursday’s new SARS-CoV-2 cases pushed the total infections for the past 16 months to 95,307.
Of the new cases, 66 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 9 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports were positive in PCR tests, and 272 were diagnosed through private lab and hospital tests.
A further 699 were diagnosed through the national rapid test programme, the same as the day before, with Nicosia taking the lead with most cases, at 187, and a test positivity rate of 0.83%, below the benchmark of 1.00%.
Limassol was next with 155 new cases (1.07%), followed by 109 in Larnaca and the highest rate of 1.19%, 77 in Paphos (1.08%) and 50 in Famagusta district with 0.80%.
Of the 692 tests of staff and residents at retirement homes 16 were positive, all tested negative among 165 random samples at the airports, five soldiers serving in the National Guard tested positive and 37 were found infected from the 15,857 tests at public organisations and large enterprises.