Corona in Belgium | Hospital admissions peak, highest level since April


The latest figures on infections, hospital admissions and deaths underline why a tightening of the corona measures was urgently needed.

The authorities in Belgium bow announced drastic new measures on Friday evening to contain the spread of the corona virus. The daily Covid-19 statistics show why the measures are needed.

Between 7 and 13 October, according to the figures from Sciensano, an average of 6,764 people a day in Belgium were infected with the corona virus. That is almost twice as many as in the previous seven-day period. On Tuesday October 13, Sciensano counted 10,369 infections, a record.

Over the past 14 days, our country had a cumulative 621 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. With the exception of the Czech Republic (701), the virus is not proliferating anywhere in Europe, according to data from the European center for disease control. By way of comparison: the Netherlands, where Prime Minister Rutte already announced drastic measures on Tuesday evening, is at 461. France, where a curfew has been introduced in eight cities, is at 346.

The fact that significantly more infections are detected is not due to a correspondingly increased number of tests. The number of samples has increased significantly in recent days, to over 48,000 per day. Of all tests, 13.3 percent – more than one in eight – turns out to be positive. That figure is on the rise and indicates a stronger circulation of the virus.

The Sciensano knowledge center follows the evolution of new infections on the basis of the seven-day average instead of daily values. For example, the weekend effect is smoothed out and the data can be supplemented with test results that the labs only supply after a few days.

The trouble spots

Sciensano uses a flashing light system, whereby the light switches to orange if more than 20 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants have been reported in a municipality in the past seven days. If the number of new infections then increases for seven consecutive days, the light turns red. This is now the case almost everywhere, especially in Brussels and Wallonia:

Last summer, viruses arose in Antwerp and Brussels. They are still visible on the map. Especially the situation in the Brussels Region – where the cafes have been locked for a month – remains serious. But clusters are also forming in the south of the country. The virus is on the rise, especially in the provinces of Liège and Hainaut.

The new infections mainly affect people under the age of 50, which is very similar to the start of the epidemic in March.

Trace test

It is important to know who gets infected and where because the virus is found worldwide to spread through small explosions that can set everything on fire again without extinguishing. That is why it is crucial that the government continues to focus on the test-trace insulation strategy. It must first be possible to test for potential contamination on a large scale.

Because testing is done on a large scale – over 45,000 people a day in recent days – the positivity ratio offers us a good compass. Sciensano calculates this ratio by comparing the number of positive tests against the number of tests performed. That ratio in Belgium is now almost 13 percent, with large regional differences.

The detection rate of positive cases shows that the virus is indeed on the rise, but there is not immediately cause for panic. The figures are mainly used to follow the evolution of the pandemic because it is difficult to compare with March. The positivity ratio was at its peak at 30 percent at the end of March, but then due to scarcity, only people with clear disease symptoms were tested. Testing is now much broader.

Sciensano has recently also announced the number of tests per province and the Brussels Region. Antwerp tests the most, but expressed per inhabitant no more than the Brussels Region. Brussels, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut and Liège stand out with 17 to 20 percent positivity ratio, while Limburg and West and East Flanders remain around 6 percent.

The situation in hospitals

The strong increase in infections for weeks is now clearly visible the hospital statistics: an average of 207 patients are admitted per day. 2,098 people are in Belgian hospitals with Covid-19. That is the highest level since April, albeit still significantly less from nearly 7,000 at the height of the epidemic. 358 patients are treated in intensive care. That is the highest level since May. Hospitals have therefore been forced to reserve a larger proportion of the intensive care beds for covid patients from 26 October.


Not only the direct but also the indirect impact of the virus – people postpone vital treatments – plays a role. It is certain that more people have died than average in recent months. This excess mortality peaked in our country during the week of March 30. Then there were 2,087 more deaths than normal, or an excess mortality rate of 105 percent. After that, the figures dropped back to their normal level and there was even a slight under-mortality.

The graphs for this article are updated every weekday around 8:30 am.

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