Catalonia to stop counting all Covid-19 cases this spring if most are mild

33% of coronavirus patients currently hospitalized for other illnesses

A vaccination site in Girona on October 5, 2021 (courtesy of the Catalan health department)
A vaccination site in Girona on October 5, 2021 (courtesy of the Catalan health department) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 21, 2022 11:40 AM

Health authorities in Catalonia announced on Friday that they intend to stop counting all Covid-19 cases from April as long as most of them are mild.

In an interview with RAC1 radio, health minister Josep Maria Argimon said that people would not have to get tested in health centers if they do not have severe symptoms and that self-isolation protocols would not be as strict as they currently are either.

The health department will, if this plan moves forward, estimate the incidence rate by collecting samples from people at different points across Catalonia instead.

Argimon, however, acknowledged what he called "twists" since the pandemic first hit, making it hard to predict at times how the virus will act. 

Around 800,000 people in Catalonia have tested positive in the past month, of which most have had mild symptoms.

Of every 1,000 inhabitants who get the virus now, only 0.6 end up requiring ICU care, while only two months ago 4 did.

Hospitalized with or due to Covid

A third of all hospitalized coronavirus patients in Catalonia were actually admitted due to other illnesses, public health secretary Carmen Cabezas explained on Wednesday during the health department's weekly Covid-19 press conference.

"Someone can be hospitalized as a result of serious illness caused by Covid," she told Catalan News. "They can also be hospitalized for other things, such as surgery, and then discover they have asymptomatic Covid or even get Covid later on in the hospital. All of these people are included in the hospitalized patient count."

According to her, 67% of all hospitalized Covid patients were admitted because of the virus, while 92% of Covid patients in ICUs were required care due to coronavirus and not other conditions. 

Curfew lifted and other restrictions in place

The Catalan government announced that some Covid-19 restrictions, such as 10-person limit gatherings, certificates and capacity limits would remain in place. However, the executive announced on Monday that the curfew would end on Friday 21.

The first morning without a night restriction, Barcelona deputy mayor Jaume Collboni celebrated the lifting of the measure. However "other measures should be proposed, such as those affecting nightlife, which inexplicably remains closed," he said.

The current measures will be reviewed on a weekly rather than 15-day basis due to the rapidly evolving nature of the health crisis, Catalan government spokesperson Patrícia Plaja explained on Tuesday.