COVID19: August ends with record 80 deaths, new cases drop

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August ended with a record 80 coronavirus deaths in Cyprus, with hospitalisations and new daily infections dropping to 138 and 287, respectively.

The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin on Tuesday that a 59 year old woman and an 84 year old man were the latest victims of the pandemic, raising the death toll in the past 17 months to 503.

The month’s record surpassed the previous high of 76 deaths in January and last December.

To date, 325 were men (65%) and 178 women, with an average age of 76.5 years.

August was also the deadliest month for the Turkish Cypriot community, as health authorities in the north have reported 21 deaths so far.

The ministry said that 138 patients are currently admitted for treatment in state hospitals, down from Monday’s 143, while new infections dropped to 287, compared to 311 the day before.

Of the hospitalisations, 54 are critical, four less than Monday, and 22 remain intubated, up two from the previous day, while 79% of hospital patients are unvaccinated.

A further 16 patients are considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state. This is down by four from Monday.

The total number of all SARS-CoV-2 infections since the pandemic started in March last year rose to 113,875.

Some 50,341 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 3,000 less than the day before.


Test positivity rate marginally lower

With a lower number of new infections, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ dropped marginally to 0.57% from the previous day’s 0.58%, and below the high-risk threshold of 1%.

Of the new cases, 35 were discovered through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, four passengers tested positive in PCR tests at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 88 were diagnosed from private initiative and hospital tests.

A further 109 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 50 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

Of these, 21 were in Nicosia, 11 in Limassol, 6 in Paphos, 5 in the Famagusta region and 4 in Larnaca.

Only three of the 920 samples of staff and residents at retirement homes tested negative.

All of the 149 random rapid tests on passengers arriving at both airports were negative, as were 23 samples from port passengers and the 70 tests of tourists sponsored by the hoteliers’ association.