Hospital occupancy in Spain remains stable despite increasing number of infections

by Deborah Cater
Hospital occupancy increases but not dramatically in Spain. Image: wikimedia

Despite the number of infections in Spain almost doubling in the past fourteen days, this had little significant impact on hospital occupancy. It increased eight times less quickly than at the start of the third wave in December.

In 31 Spanish provinces, the increase in the number of infections was more than double compared to the fourteen days before. An outlier occurred in the province of Zamora (Castile and León), where there was a tenfold increase. In the provinces of Salamanca and Burgos, the number of infections increased eightfold. In only 5 of the 50 Spanish provinces, did the infection rate not increase in the past two weeks.

The incidence among young people is three times higher than the average incidence in Spain. This is now the same as in the third wave. However, there is an important difference: the current peak has hardly any influence on the number of new hospital admissions thanks to the vaccination campaign. After Christmas last year, 4,200 more admissions were registered than before the holidays. Now slightly over 500 people have been admitted to hospital compared to two weeks ago.

People over sixty well protected

The new peak of infections has had no influence on the number of hospital admissions and deaths among the over-60s. As a result, the pressure the pandemic is placing on healthcare has shifted from hospitals to primary care. This involves the care of thousands of infected young people and the progress of the vaccination campaign. In 14 provinces, the incidence among teenagers and twenty-somethings has risen above 1000, meaning that 1% of all young people in Spain are infected with the coronavirus.

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Death rate sharply down

As a result of the vaccination campaign, the death rate from Covid-19 has fallen sharply since the end of March. In the past 30 days, eight provinces have not reported a single death. More than half the Spanish provinces registered less than one death (from Covid-19) per 100,000 inhabitants.

Nevertheless, hospital occupancy is increasing in Spain. In the provinces of Barcelona, ​​the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, Valencia, Teruel and Melilla, hospital admissions have doubled in the past two weeks. In addition, account must also be taken of a delay in the effect of an infection peak, which is only visible in the number of hospital admissions between on average 8 to 14 days afterwards.

For now, the situation in hospitals across Spain is under control with less than 5% bed occupancy for covid care. Looking at the incidence, there are now 22 provinces with more than 250 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants. In four of those, the incidence is above 400. 15 provinces remain below 150. Only in the provinces of Ciudad Real, Huelva, Seville, Ceuta and Córdoba has the infection rate decreased slightly in the past fourteen days or remained unchanged compared to the fourteen days before.

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