August is headed to become the deadliest month throughout the pandemic with six people dying due to Covid-19 on Friday, including three men in their 40s, raising the monthly toll to 73 and to 496 during the last 17 months.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that all six victims of the coronavirus were men, three of whom aged 42 to 46, and the other three were 65 to 89.
Despite recording no deaths on Wednesday for the first time in a fortnight, the monthly count neared the record 76 each last December and January.
The average age of all deaths is 77 years, with 322 men (65%) and 174 women.
New daily infections rose from 254 to 324, and hospitalisations dropped from 178 to 159, of whom 66 are critical, six less than Thursday.
Of these, 25 remain intubated, down by six from the previous day and 83% of hospital patients are unvaccinated, down from 87%.
A further 14 patients are considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state.
The total number of all SARS-CoV-2 infections since the pandemic started in March last year rose to 112,856.
Some 34,487 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 11,000 less than the day before.
Test positivity rises again
The 324 new infections, 70 more than on Thursday, and the lower total tests raised the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate to 0.94%, much higher than the previous day’s 0.56%, and close to the high-risk threshold of 1%.
Of the new cases, 41 were discovered through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 13 passengers tested positive in PCR tests at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 69 were diagnosed from private initiative and hospital tests.
A further 150 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 51 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
Of these, 17 were in Nicosia, 14 in Limassol, 7 in Larnaca, 5 in the Famagusta region and four in Paphos.
Only one of 526 samples from staff and residents at retirement homes tested positive, as did two soldiers serving in the National Guard.
One of the 113 random rapid tests on passengers arriving at both airports was positive, while 112 tests of guests sponsored by the hoteliers’ association were all negative.