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Second consecutive day of record high new Covid-19 cases in Catalonia

Close contacts with no symptoms will no longer be tested for Covid-19 but will still be required to self-isolate

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08 July 2021 10:35 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

For the second consecutive day, Catalonia has seen a new record high number of confirmed Covid-19 cases. 

In the latest update on Thursday, a total of 7,866 more positive cases have been confirmed, surpassing the 7,100 reported on Wednesday.

July 2021 has seen 37,996 new cases so far, just a week into the month - more than the total that was confirmed in each of the entire months of June (27,911) and May (25,743). 

The latest record follows on from an intense fortnight of outbreaks surging and many key pandemic indicators significantly worsening.

The deteriorating situation has led to French authorities recommending its citizens against travelling to Catalonia, where the 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 people is much higher than in other parts of Europe. 

This also comes days after authorities announced indoor areas of nightclubs would be closed from Friday. However, health minister Josep Maria Argimon says the sector alone is not responsible for the recent increase in cases, and attributes it rather to leisure activities and socializing in general.

In order to break up large maskless crowds of people in Barcelona, mayor Ada Colau stated that this following weekend there would be more local officers on patrol. The mayor has also asked the interior department for an increased presence of Mossos d'Esquadra police in the Catalan capital. 

In order to break up large maskless crowds of people in Barcelona, mayor Ada Colau stated that this following weekend there would be more local officers on patrol. The mayor has also asked the interior department for an increased presence of Mossos d'Esquadra police in the Catalan capital. 

Asymptomatic close contacts

In an attempt to focus primary care center (CAP) resources on those who need it the most, authorities announced on Thursday that close contacts with no symptoms will no longer be tested for Covid-19 with PCR or antigen tests, even if they have not yet been vaccinated, but will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days. 

This comes a few days after the health department decided not to test fully vaccinated close contacts as the primary care system has been overwhelmed by skyrocketing cases due to the effects of the Delta variant. 

According to public health secretary Carmen Cabezas, the goal at the moment is not so much to count each and every case, but to "stop transmissions."

"If you feel well, just stay home," said CatSalut director Gemma Craywinckel. 

Situation in hospitals

The huge spike in cases since the beginning of last week had not significantly affected hospitals at first, but the latest updates have begun to change this picture.

A further 190 people have been hospitalized with the virus in the past five days, with the total number jumping from 473 to 663. However, this is still significantly below levels seen during the past months, when over 1,000 people needed medical care for Covid-19 in the first half of May, and the figure has, overall, been on a steady decline for months. 

Additionally, the number of people in intensive care units is remaining relatively stable, with 138 patients currently in ICUs - up from a low of 115 seen on July 1.

In the long-term, the state of this key pandemic indicator is also improving, with a steady decline in the count being seen ever since January, barring a brief uptick around Easter.

The surge in cases has also taken what the health minister has described as a "very worrisome" toll on the primary care system. Also in charge of the vaccination rollout campaign, primary care workers must now carry out an increased number of Covid-19 tests as well. 

Because of this, large hospitals in the Barcelona area are set to set up external testing sites in an attempt to reduce some of the pressure on the primary care system. 

Other key indicators

The outbreak risk has now seen three consecutive days of record highs. In the latest update, this figure stands at 1,552, whereas over 100 points in this indicator is considered a ‘high’ risk of outbreak. The metric has seen an almost tenfold increase over the past ten days. 

The outbreak risk is calculated using the iEPG index by multiplying the average spread of the virus over the past seven days by the cumulative incidence over the past two weeks.

Additionally, the incidence rate - the number of cases seen over the past 14 days per 100,000 population - has skyrocketed also, from 98 to 479 in the last ten days. 

The transmission rate now stands at 3.35 - the average number of times a person with Covid-19 will pass it on to another person, indicating rapid reproduction of the virus. Amongst younger generations this figure is much higher: between 8 and 10 people become infected per every confirmed case, Argimon explained on Wednesday. 

Vaccination campaign

Health authorities insist that the perceived risk of the pandemic is overall quite low despite the rising case numbers and incidence rate largely thanks to the success of the vaccination campaign.

More than 40% of Catalonia’s population is already fully immunized, with either two doses of a jab that require it, one dose of the Janssen vaccine, or else one dose of another brand if the person has already had and recovered from the virus. 

As of July 7, 2021, 4,440,811 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 56.5% of the total population. Out of those, 3,068,371 have also been administered a second dose (39.1% of the total population). 

3,406,288 residents are considered to be fully immunized (43.4%). Under 65s who have already had the virus are only required to have the first dose, and others have received a single-dose jab. Therefore, the % of two doses administered and % fully immunized do not match.

Number of people diagnosed per day 

Hospitalized patients and ICU patients from July 29

Number of confirmed and suspected Covid-19 deaths per day (at hospitals until May 19, also other health centers from May 20, also elsewhere since August 5)

Outbreak risk (over 100 is high) and transmission rate (over 1 concerns authorities)

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Number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in last 14 days

Percentage of population vaccinated 

 
Number of people given first and second dose

 
New vaccinations per day (both 1st & 2nd dose)
 

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Covid-19 vaccination progress in top priority groups

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  • A man gets tested for Covid-19 in a mass testing centre (by Oriol Bosch)

  • A man gets tested for Covid-19 in a mass testing centre (by Oriol Bosch)

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