Cyprus reported four more coronavirus deaths on Sunday, as daily cases dropped further to 3,012, but hospitalisations increased to 251 from the previous day, with the number of critical patients also on the up.
The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were three women, aged 53, 78 and 86, and a 67 year old man, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 657.
Saturday’s report was adjusted down to three deaths after a clerical error.
In just over a week, January has already counted 19 deaths. December was the second deadliest month at 41, with the worst month August 2021 with 80 deaths.
An unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, powered by the Omicron variant, has seen over 100,000 people go into isolation, with daily cases exceeding 5,000 four times during the past week.
Sunday’s rate was below the previous day’s 3,959 and far lower than Friday’s 5,244.
Hospitalisations increased from 244 to 251, as serious cases rose by eight to 91.
Throughout December, patient numbers increased steadily to the 170-180 level, with hospital capacity rising to 300 beds.
Intubated patients rose by three to 29, while 75% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.
Also, 17 young patients remain admitted in the Covid ward at Nicosia’s Makarios children’s hospital, two less than the day before.
Seventeen 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 is 204,372.
A total of 139,709 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 13,000 less than Friday, as restrictions in public venues forced many to seek a 72-hour rapid test to enter, while schools reopen on Monday, demanding a negative test from all.
Positivity rate drops to 2.16%
A drop in tests and new cases saw the benchmark ‘positivity’ rate drop to 2.16% from the previous day’s 2.67%, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1%.
Of the new infections, 69 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 97 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 338 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.
A further 1,071 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 1,437 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
Only one of the 278 samples in retirement homes tested positive, with 26 positive cases among 2,462 tests in restricted institutions.