Five people died of coronavirus on Tuesday with Cyprus recording an unprecedented 5,457 cases as hospitalisations remained stubbornly beyond the 200-bed safety margin with 209 patients being treated for Covid-19.
From a staggering 5,048 infections on New Year’s Eve, the number of new cases dropped to 2,332 on New Year’s day, rising to 3,538 on Sunday and to the second highest total of 5,024 on Monday.
The highly transmissible Omicron variant is 80% prevalent in all new cases in Cyprus, but it is expected to be fully dominant in the next few days, overtaking Delta, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said earlier.
“In the coming days, Omicron will prevail in all our new cases,” he said.
Hospitalisations rose again to 209 having breached the 200-bed safety margin with 203 patients being treated for Covid-19 on Sunday and 201 on Monday. However, the serious cases increased by one to 76.
Patient numbers increased steadily to the 170-180 level throughout December since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November.
Youngest victim was 43
The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were three men, aged 43, 82 and 84, and two women, 55 and 73, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 646, of which eight in January.
December was the second deadliest month at 41, with the worst month on record being last August with 80 deaths.
The number of intubated patients remained unchanged at 32, while 78% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated. Also, 20 young patients remain admitted in the Covid ward of the Makarios children’s hospital, one more from the day before.
Fifteen 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 reached 183,178.
A total 122,801 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, about 42,000 fewer than Monday.
On fewer tests and an increase in positive cases, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate leapt to 4.44% from the previous day’s 3.06%, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1.0%.
Of the new infections, 490 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 143 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 1,102 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.
A further 2,715 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 1,007 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
Of the 978 tests in retirement homes, eleven tested positive, as did 26 out of 2,193 samples in restricted institutions.