COVID19: Three deaths as cases leap to 3,500 after holiday

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Cyprus reported three coronavirus deaths on Thursday, as new daily cases jumped to 3,473, possibly due to the ‘Green Monday’ holiday and public outings, with hospitalisations dropping to 113, of whom 22 are critical.

Hospitals’ operator OKYPY spokesperson Charalambos Charilaou said earlier on Thursday that the spike in new cases, having dropped below 2,000 for several days last week, was probably due to the Carnival weekend with large groups and crowds gathering to celebrate.

However, he told CyBC Radio that he was not too worried by the rapid rise, as the all-important hospitalisation rate remained steady at the 120 level during the past few weeks.

Charilaou added that almost all of the patients being treated for Covid-19 carried the less-aggressive Omicron variant, with only a handful infected with Delta.

The Health Ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims included a 54 year old woman, as well as two elderly people, an 85 year old woman and an 89 year old man.

This raised the March death toll rose to 25 and the national figure to 889, 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 decreased to eight, while 57% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.

Some 21 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 344,856.

35,500 tests in schools

A total of 98,705 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, about 20,000 more than the previous day, with testing resuming in all schools.

Of the 11,878 tests in high schools, 88 were positive and 89 from 20,256 tests in primary schools. A further 33 new infections were identified from 2,728 samples as part of the ‘test to stay’ programme, with only one positive case among 858 samples from special schools.

With a rise in the number of tests, as well as the rapid increase in new cases from 2,866 to 3,473, close to Tuesday’s figure, the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ dropped marginally to 3.52% from 3.66% the day before, but still more than triple 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 2,500 in recent weeks.

Of the new infections, 142 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections.

From a handful of new cases during the past few weeks, 31 samples were positive from 1,060 tests in care homes, while three new infections were identified from 186 tests in restricted institutions.