The number of new coronavirus infections detected in Spain rose on Saturday, with 271 reported by the Health Ministry. This is the highest figure seen since the notification system was changed so that the number of cases diagnosed in the last 24 hours can be communicated on a daily basis. The last two days have seen the same figure come in at below 200.
The two regions that reported the most cases were Madrid, with 95, and Catalonia, with 88. In the latter region, the health authorities have raised the alarm due to a new outbreak that has required dozens of people to isolate, and has even prevented the healthcare zone of Lleida from moving to Phase 2 of the government’s coronavirus deescalation plan.
The number of people who are being infected with the coronavirus as the deescalation progresses is slowly rising
While an isolated figure does not constitute a trend, the data from the latest Health Ministry report show a sustained increase this week in cases diagnosed where symptoms began in the last seven days.
This section, which has been included in the report since Monday, allows for analysis of the progress of the epidemic much faster than could be done with the previous reports. The figures give an image of infections with just a few days of delay. The infection rate started at 0.42 per 100,000 inhabitants, and is now at 0.68. That’s to say, the number of people who are being infected with the coronavirus as the deescalation progresses is slowly rising.
Experts consulted by EL PAÍS in recent days believe that it is normal for there to be new outbreaks as the confinement measures in Spain are relaxed, but they also warn that if they are not detected in time, with contacts traced and isolated, the situation could become serious.
Since the deescalation process began, Andrea Burón, a spokesperson for the Spanish Society for Public Health and Health Administration (Sespas), has observed a slight upward trend in infections in the regions which are advancing furthest. “It’s logical, but we have to monitor this so that the small outbreaks remain small,” she says.
Her warning is reflected in the so-called R number, the number of people on average that one infected person will pass the virus on to. If this number is above one, that means that the epidemic is advancing. If it is below, it is retreating. During the toughest confinement measures, all of Spain’s regions were below one, but during the deescalation some have exceeded that limit.
The two regions with the lowest R number are those with the most cases and that are lagging behind in terms of phase changes: Madrid and Catalonia
Spain currently has an R number of 0.8, but several regions are above one, according to the Carlos III Health Institute. They are Andalusía, Aragón, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia, Murcia and Melilla.
The two regions with the lowest R number are those with the most cases and that are lagging behind in terms of phase changes: Madrid and Catalonia.
In the last week, the Health Ministry reported today, there have been 43 official Covid-19-related deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in Spain since the epidemic began to 27,125. However, the ministry has warned that there are a number of cases that will be added once the historical series has been fully reviewed and updated. The implementation of the new statistical system saw 2,000 fatalities removed from the total, reportedly due to the removal of duplicated cases, among other factors.
According to the data released on Saturday, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) have held steady during the whole week: 10 new ICU patients in the last seven days, and 287 new hospital admissions.
English version by Simon Hunter.