COVID19: Three deaths push February closer to second worst month

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Cyprus reported three new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, with February a handful short of becoming the second worst month on record. New cases dropped further to 2,167, while hospitalisations increased to 161 and critical patients were fewer at 36.

The Health Ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were three men aged 74 to 81, raising the February death toll to 75 and 833 since March 2020.

January was the deadliest month with 100 deaths, overtaking the previous record of 80 last August.

Intubated patients were up by two at 13, while 64% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated. The number of patients admitted in the Covid wards rose from 157 on Tuesday to 161.

Some 23 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 313,406.

A total of 96,880 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 8,000 less than the previous day, as testing continued in schools with 16,500 samples, but no tests in elementaries.

Of the 12,063 tests in high schools, 78 were positive, and 55 new cases among 4,534 samples acquired as part of the ‘test to stay’ programme.

The decrease in tests and new cases from 2,322 to 2,167 saw the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ rise marginally from 2.22% to 2.24%, more than double the safe marker of 1%.

Having peaked at 5,457 on January 4, driven by a spike in the Omicron variant, new cases dipped below 3,000 for most of the past week, and below 2,000 for the last two days.

Of the new infections, 135 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections.

A further eleven tested positive from 1,168 tests in care homes and one new infection among 1,576 samples in restricted institutions.