COVID19: Death toll soars to 11, cases slightly up

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Cyprus saw coronavirus deaths soar to eleven on Thursday, pushing January closer to the August figure of the deadliest month on record, as hospitalisations dropped slightly to 244 and new cases rose to 2,282, close to the total for the day before.

The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were five women, of whom two were aged 65, and six men, the youngest at 63. This followed the zero death rate on Wednesday, the first time in five days.

The latest deaths raised the number since the pandemic started to 700, with January so far accounting for 62 deaths, behind the record 80 in August 2021.

Since March 2020, 440 men have died of Covid-19 (62.9%) and 260 women, with an average age of 76 years.

An unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, that reached 5,000 earlier this month powered by the Omicron variant, is beginning to abate, remaining below 3,000 and closer to 2,000 for the sixth day in a row.

Hospitalisations dropped from 248 to 244, as serious cases were also down at 81, eleven less than the day before.

Intubated patients dropped by one to 34 while 73% of hospital patients were unvaccinated.

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

Also, eight patients remain admitted at the Covid ward of the Makarios Children’s Hospital.

The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 is 235,364.

A total of 108,670 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, some 13,000 more than the day before, as testing was extended to primary schools as well.

169 positive in schools

Testing continued in high schools, where 56 were positive among 9,159 samples, and 113 from 21,325 tests in primary schools.

The rise in the number of tests and marginal increase in new cases from 2,226 to 2,282, saw the benchmark ‘positivity’ rate drop slightly to 2.10% from 2.33% the previous day, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1%.

Of the new infections, 170 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 50 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 340 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital and GP tests.

A further 1,144 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 678 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

Eighteen of the 1,157 tests in retirement homes were positive for Covid-19, as were four among 2,223 samples in closed institutions and seven from 480 tests in special schools.