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The epidemic continues to weaken slowly, but we must keep cautious

Due to the declining trend in the spread of the virus in recent weeks, our reporting is also evolving. From now on, the focus is set on the trend development and no longer on the numbers for the past 24 hours. This means that the development of the epidemic can be assessed more objectively, regardless of the fluctuations in the daily figures.

Evolution of daily average values

Last week*, 89 new infections were reported per day on average. This means a decrease by 6% in comparison to the previous week (94 new infections per day on average). Over the same period, the average number of deaths per day has also decreased from 8 to 7 (-18%). The number of new hospital admissions for COVID-19 has diminished over the past week** to an average of 15 per day, compared to 18 per day one week earlier (-15%).

* 16/6-22/6 The data on new infections and deaths for the past 3 days is not consolidated yet. ** 19/6-25/6 19 June-25 June

Evolution of the occupation rate in hospitals

Last week, the occupation rate in hospitals decreased:

  • On 25 June, 255 hospital beds were occupied by COVID19-patients. On 18 June, that number was still 340, which means a decrease by 25%.
  • Over the same period, the number of beds occupied in intensive care has also diminished from 52 to 38 (-27%).

Evolution of short-term indicators

ABSENCE FROM WORK

Through Medex, Sciensano receives an overview of the number of ill people among the 83,000 Belgian civil servants compared to previous years. With those indicators, we can deduce whether more people are getting ill. It gives us an idea of the impact of the coronavirus on the working population. 

The number of absentees has remained stable over the past weeks and lower than in previous years.

Number of ill Belgian civil servants per day (weekly average value) (MEDEX database, n = 83,002)

All figures included in this image are available via d34j62pglfm3rr.cloudfront.net/downloads/news/numbers_20200625_EN.pdf

EVOLUTION OF CONSULTATIONS FOR INFLUENZA-LIKE SYMPTOMS

In the past week, 71 inhabitants out of 100,000 consulted their general practitioner for flu-like symptoms, such as fever and cough (same symptoms as those of COVID19). The number of consultations remained stable in all age categories. Only a small increase of the incidence was observed among infants (0-4 years) in Flanders.

All figures included in this image are available via d34j62pglfm3rr.cloudfront.net/downloads/news/numbers_20200625_EN.pdf

Evolution of immunity

Recent analyses of blood samples provided by the Flemish Red Cross and the Blood Department of the Red Cross (period from 8 to 10 June) reveal that the presence of antibodies in the blood of donors  (18-75 years and in good health condition on the day of donation) has not increased any more. It remains low for the moment (4.3%).

Currently we do not notice yet in this group the impact of the softer measures that have been introduced as of 4 May. Nevertheless, it is still too early to assess the impact of the increased number of close contacts between persons (reopening of bars, hotels and restaurants and meetings with up to 10 persons as of 8 June).

The same trend is developing among health professionals in hospitals (sampling in the period 19 to 24 May): among these people, too, the percentage of persons building up antibodies against COVID-19 has remained stable (8.8%).

Prevalence in serum among health professionals seems to be slightly higher than that of the Belgian population in good health condition (represented by blood donors). However, it is lower than expected, given that health professionals represent a population which is particularly exposed to the infection.

View the full daily report on the (inter)national epidemiological situation of the coronavirus. picture_as_pdf

Daily figures and situation at a local level

CURRENT LOCAL SITUATION

To track the situation at a local level, visit our website. It shows the presence of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in each municipality based on 3 indicators:

  • 7-day cumulative incidence (number of new infections in the last 7 days divided by the population of the specific municipality, multiplied by 100,000);
  • Number of consecutive days on which at least one new infection was reported;
  • Number of days on which there is an increase in new infections compared to the previous day, over a period of 7 days.

DAILY FIGURES

The daily figures are available online via the Sciensano COVID-19 dashboard.

All corresponding Open Data records can be downloaded from our website.

Dashboard and datasets are updated daily at 12.00 am.

New infections are monitored 7 days a week and the alert system for regional health services remains permanently active. You can always view the current local situation and the current daily numbers of new infections, through the links here above.

Hospital admissions and deaths - which are somewhat longer-term indicators - are only analysed during the week. Therefore, no distinctive epidemiological report is published on Sundays and Mondays.

Let us enjoy the summer wisely

Thanks to our joint efforts in recent weeks, the force of the pandemic has diminished in our country. This makes it possible to further soften, in a responsible way, the measures put in place to preserve our safety and health. With the upcoming summer months, everyone has a nice summer in view: children can join holiday camps, we can meet with friends again, cultural activities can restart…  Let us fully enjoy it, but without playing the fool. In the coming weeks, it will also be important to adapt our behaviour, repeatedly, to the virus which is still present in our society. Let us protect ourselves and protect the others by respecting the six golden rules in the coming weekend:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Prefer outdoor activities.
  • Watch out for people at risk.
  • Keep a 1.5-meter distance away from other people and wear a mask when it is not possible.
  • Meet with maximum 15 different people each week.
  • Limit your group activity to 15 persons, at home or in other places. 

If you are ill (fever, coughing, respiratory problems, etc.), please follow the advice of the FPS Public Health:

  1. Stay at home;
  2. Contact your doctor directly by telephone;
  3. Follow the recommendations on the website https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/.