COVID19: Three deaths as cases still above 2,000

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Cyprus reported three coronavirus deaths on Friday, rising to 23 for the week and 65 for January, as new daily cases dipped to 2,192 and hospitalisations to 242.

The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were two men, aged 73 and 85, and an 86 year old woman. This followed the record 11 deaths on Thursday with the death toll since the pandemic started inching up further to 703.

Wednesday was the first time in five days when no deaths were recorded, while January’s second highest tally to date is not too far behind the record 80 in August 2021.

Since March 2020, 442 men have died of Covid-19 (62.9%) and 261 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 but stubbornly above 2,000 for the seventh day in a row. Only on Sunday, the number dipped below, to 1971.

Hospitalisations dropped from 244 to 242, as serious cases rose to 84, three more than the day before.

Intubated patients dropped by one to 33, while 71% 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, seven patients remain admitted at the Covid ward of the Makarios Children’s Hospital.

The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 has been adjusted down to 232,161 from Thursday’s 235,364.

125 cases in schools

A total of 106,444 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, some 2,000 less than the day before, as testing continued in primary schools, as well as in secondary.

In high schools, 35 were positive among 7,529 samples, and 90 from 21,660 tests in elementary schools.

The drop in the number of tests and marginal drop in new cases from 2,282 to 2,192, saw the benchmark ‘positivity’ rate drop further to 2.06% from 2.10% 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, 126 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 23 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 359 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital and GP tests.

A further 1,176 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 585 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

Thirteen of the 789 tests in retirement homes were positive for Covid-19, as were 11 among 236 samples in closed institutions.