COVID19: Four deaths, new cases spike again above 3,000

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Cyprus reported four coronavirus deaths on Monday, two of whom in their 40s, with an increase in daily cases beyond the 3,000 mark to 3,374, and hospitalisations also up at 233, of whom 63 were critical.

Concerned that the infection numbers are still high, virologist and government advisor Dr Petros Karayiannis said earlier on Monday that it is “too early to lift Covid-19 restrictions” as although daily cases have stabilised they are still high at around 3,000.

He told the Cyprus News Agency it is not easy to predict the course of the current coronavirus wave yet.

The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were a 40 year old man and a 47 year old woman, as well as a 79 year old man and 89 year old woman, raising the death toll for February to 14 and 749 since March 2020.

January was the deadliest month with 96, overtaking the previous record of 80 deaths last August. To date, 467 of the victims were male (62.3%) and 282 females, with an average age of 76.3 years.

Intubated patients remained unchanged at 29, while 72% of hospital COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.

The number of patients admitted at the Covid ward of the Makarios children’s hospital remained the same as the previous day, at 12.

Some 19 patients are still considered post-Covid, the same as on Sunday, 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 274,979.

A total of 139,885 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 54,000 more than the day before, as testing resumed at schools.

7,080 ‘test to stay’ in schools

Of the 20,118 tests in primary schools, 145 tested positive, as did 85 results from 12,266 samples in high schools, while 120 were positive from 7,080 in the “test to stay” monitoring programme.

The increase in the number of tests and new cases from 2,214 to 3,374 saw the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ drop from 2.59% to 2.41%, but still far above the safe marker of 1%.

Having peaked at 5,457 on January 4, driven by a spike in the Omicron variant, new cases have dipped below 3,000, having remained above that level for most of the past month.

Of the new infections, 142 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 83 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 303 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital and GP tests.

A further 1,940 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 1,016 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

Of the 1,563 samples taken in retirement homes, 27 were positive, with five more new cases from 280 tests in restricted institutions.