Medical and healthcare workers in the struggle to tackle coronavirus.

COVID19: One death as hospitalisations on the rise

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Cyprus reported one coronavirus death on Tuesday and a mild drop in new cases to 662, with hospitalisations continuing to rise to 159, gradually filling the bed capacity at special Covid wards.

Patient numbers have increased steadily since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November.

The health ministry said the latest victim of the pandemic was a 92-year-old woman, taking the death toll since the pandemic started to 612, 15 of them in December.

After daily infections nearly doubled to the recent high of 715 on Monday, new cases dropped slightly to 662.

However, hospitalisations continued on their upward trend and increased by ten to 159, with more serious cases increasing by four, at 59.

Intubated patients also saw an increase by three to 18, while 81% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.

Seven patients are still considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state.

The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 rose to 142,228.

Testing dropped on Tuesday, with 80,985 PCR and antigen rapid tests, about 25,000 less than the day before, as tests resumed at schools with about 21,600 samples.

Of the 9,163 tests in primary schools 28 were reported as positive cases, and 24 new cases from 12,523 tests in high schools.

With a drop in tests and daily infections, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate rose to 0.82%, from 0.67%, approaching the high-risk threshold of 1%.

Of the new infections, 105 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 43 were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 120 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.

A further 235 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 159 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

All of the 980 tests at retirement homes were negative, as well as 157 tests in restricted institutions, while four tested positive among 235 tests in the National Guard.