COVID19: January ends as deadliest month

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Cyprus reported two coronavirus deaths on Monday, with new daily cases breaking past the 3,000 barrier and rising to 3,396, while hospitalisations decreased to 204 with critical cases also dropping, to 65.

The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that a 77 year old woman and an 86 year old man were the latest victims of the pandemic, raising the toll for January to 95, and to 733 since March 2020.

January is the deadliest month so far, overtaking the previous record of 80 last August.

Intubated patients decreased by one to 31, while 76% of hospital COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.

The number of patients admitted at the Makarios children’s hospital remained unchanged at 16.

Some 20 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 256,746.

A total of 137,680 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, some 52,000 more than the day before, due to testing resuming in schools.

From 20,575 tests in primary schools, 166 were positive, while 90 tested positive among 11,703 samples in high schools.

‘Test to stay’ shortages

With the ‘test to stay’ scheme coming under fire due to shortages at testing stations earlier on Monday, with some pupils missing classes due to the confusion, 5,226 tests were conducted in schools, identifying 74 new cases.

The significant increase in the number of tests and new cases from 2,225 to 3,396 saw the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ drop to 2.47% from 2.61% 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 dropped below 3,000 throughout the past week but remained above 2,000, breaking past this benchmark on Monday.

Of the new infections, 150 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 54 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 355 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital and GP tests.

A further 1,853 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 1,096 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

Of the 1,603 samples taken in retirement homes, 49 were positive, as well as four from 363 samples in restricted institutions.