Cyprus reported two coronavirus deaths on Thursday, daily cases dipped closer to the 2,000 marker to 2,046, as the rate of hospitalisations dropped marginally to 144 while critical cases rose to 33, five more than the previous day.
The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were a 55 year old man and a 72 year old woman, raising the March death toll to five and the national figure to 861, two years into the pandemic.
January was the deadliest month on record with 100, followed by 91 in February, overtaking the previous record of 80 last August.
Intubated patients increased by three to 14, while 58% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.
The number of patients admitted in the Covid wards dropped from 145 to 144.
Some 17 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 328,657.
36,000 tests in schools
A total of 98,468 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 12,000 more than the previous day, as testing continued in schools with 36,000 samples.
Of the 12,135 tests in high schools 77 were positive, as well as 60 among 19,850 tests in primary schools, while 33 tested positive from 3,809 samples as part of the ‘test to stay’ programme.
The increase in the number of tests, and the marginal decrease in new cases from 2,109 to 2,046 helped push the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ down from 2.44% to 2.08%, slightly above the 2% level, and 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 remained below 2,000 for the most part of the last week.
Of the new infections, 82 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections.
One infection was discovered from 1,672 tests in care homes and one from 203 tests in restricted institutions.