COVID19: Three dead as cases spike in schools

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Cyprus reported three coronavirus deaths on Thursday, a drop in daily cases to 3,103 and hospitalisations to 259, while critical patients dropped to 87 from the previous day.

As tests resumed in primary schools, 251 new cases were discovered at elementary and high schools.

The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were three men aged 86 to 89, with the death toll since the pandemic started rising to 672.

January has already accounted for 34 deaths, fast catching up with the second worst month of December with 41 deaths, after a record 80 in August 2021.

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, edging lower this week to 3,000.

Hospitalisations rose again to 259 from 266, as serious cases were down by six, to 87.

Throughout December, patient numbers increased steadily to the 170-180 level, with hospital capacity increased to 300 beds.

Intubated patients rose by one to 29, while 75% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.

Also, 13 young patients remain admitted in the Covid ward at Nicosia’s Makarios children’s hospital, one less from 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 218,374.

A total of 122,016 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 10,000 more than Wednesday.

 

34,000 tests in schools

Of the 11,877 samples in high schools, 86 tested positive, where tests continue on a daily basis, while 165 new cases were identified in 22,365 tests at primary schools.

The rise in the number of tests and a drop in new cases saw the benchmark ‘positivity’ rate fall further to 2.54% from the previous day’s 2.85%, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1%.

Of the new infections, 51 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 441 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital and GP tests.

At the same time, 125 new infections were identified through contact tracing from 1,436 tests linked to known cases among vaccinated people.

A further 1,655 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 956 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

Ten of the 955 samples in retirement homes tested positive, with 44 positive cases among 2,377 tests in restricted institutions, as well as eight infections among 706 tests in special schools.