Cyprus reported four coronavirus deaths on Monday, an increase in daily cases to 4,187, and a mild drop in to 245 and critical patients to 86 from the previous day.
Some 75 of the new cases were detected from tests in high schools on the first day of classes.
The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were two men, aged 52 and 71, and two women, 76 and 82, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 661.
In the first tend days of the new year, January has already counted 23 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 daily cases exceeding 5,000 four times during the past week.
Monday’s rate was well above the previous day’s 3,012 and lower than Friday’s 5,244.
Hospitalisations decreased from 251 to 245, as serious cases were also down by three, to 86.
Throughout December, patient numbers increased steadily to the 170-180 level, with hospital capacity rising to 300 beds.
Intubated patients dropped by two to 27, while 77% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.
Also, 12 young patients remain admitted in the Covid ward at Nicosia’s Makarios children’s hospital, five less than the day before.
Eighteen 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 208,559.
A total of 137,091 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 2,000 less than Sunday, as schools reopened on Monday, demanding a negative test from all.
Of the 13,060 samples in high schools, 75 tested positive.
Positivity rate rises again
The small drop in tests and rise new cases saw the benchmark ‘positivity’ rate rise to 3.05% from the previous day’s 2.16%, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1%.
Of the new infections, 200 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 86 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 435 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.
A further 2,680 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 786 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
Eleven of the 1,416 samples in retirement homes tested positive, with five positive cases among 676 tests in restricted institutions.