Three people died of coronavirus in Cyprus on Tuesday, rising to 78 for January, just short of becoming the deadliest month on record, as new daily cases dropped to 2,546 and hospitalisations edged up to 223.
The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were two women aged 85 and 86, and an 88 year old man, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 716.
With six more days to the end of the month, January deaths are two short of the record 80 in August 2021.
To date, 448 men have died of the virus (62.6%) and 268 women, with an average age of 76.1 years.
Hospitalisations marginally increased from 221 to 223, as serious cases fell to 71, four less than the day before.
Intubated patients dropped by three to 27, while 73% of hospital patients were unvaccinated.
Some 25 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 has risen to 241,319.
A total of 99,308 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, some 31,000 fewer than the day before, with the ‘test to stay’ system introduced in schools as of Monday.
3 cases from ‘test to stay’
Of the 20,775 tests in primary schools, 155 were positive, and 59 among 8,273 in high schools. A further three new cases were discovered from 378 ‘test to stay’ samples in schools.
The drop in the number of tests and new cases from 2,815 to 2,546 saw the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ rise to 2.56% from 2.16% the previous day, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1%.
Having peaked at 5,457 on January 4, driven by a spike in the Omicron variant, new cases remained below 3,000 throughout the past week.
Of the new infections, 204 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 70 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 360 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital and GP tests.
A further 1,186 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 830 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
From 1,140 tests in retirement homes 22 were positive, and 13 from 1,987 tests in restricted institutions.