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Canary Islands Covid indicators worsening as Fuerteventura moves back to Alert Level 2

Canary Islands Covid indicators worsening as Fuerteventura moves back to Alert Level 2

Editor’s intro:  It has become apparent over recent weeks that a new surge in Covid-19 cases has started to show in the epidemiological data, following two months of low infection rates and what may seem to many to have been a return to pre-pandemic normality.  Though our numbers are still, as ever, very low when compared to other regions (we have had one of the lowest infection rates in all Europe, and the lowest death rate in all Spain), the emerging trend has been leading medical professionals to start sounding the alarm ahead of what will be our second winter living with Covid-19. 

Of course nobody wants to hear bad news, but the simple fact is that last week it was reported that corona virus hospitalisations had suddenly increased by upwards of 40%, and for the first time since August we started to see new daily infections rise above 100 cases a day.  The latest data shows 158 new cases detected and there is serious concern that our exemplary success in bringing the last wave under control may now be giving way to a sixth new wave of infections as we head into winter. 

There are many places across the island now where people appear to completely ignore the guidance, unmasked and mingling in large crowds, or simply socialising as though the problem no longer exists.  With luck all bar owners, venues and other establishments, who have returned to some semblance of business normality in recent weeks, will do the right thing and work hard to ensure they can stay open, by enforcing the rules, and working together to get control of the new upsurge before things get any worse. 

No one wants to return to where we were this time last year. So please, wear your mask, keep your distance and wash your hands, and we can, as we have before, get through this all together.

We will need luck, common sense and teamwork.

The Canary Islands’ Ministry of Health this Thursday have reported 168 newly detected cases of COVID-19, bringing the total accumulated cases in the Canary Islands to 98,550 since the start of the Pandemic.  As of 8pm last night (Wednesday) 1,511 cases remain active, 20 of which are admitted to the ICU and 127 are otherwise hospitalised. Two new deaths connected with the virus have been reported in the last 24 hours, on the island of Gran Canaria: an 82-year-old woman and a 78-year-old man. Both had previous pathologies and were being treated in hospital.

The Accumulated Incidence at 7 days in the Canary Islands stands at 44.44 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and at 14 days at 70.54 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

By islands, Tenerife adds 69 cases with 691 epidemiologically active;
Gran Canaria adds 65 more, with 555 currently active.
Lanzarote (also accounting for La Graciosa) adds 19 new cases with 89 now epidemiologically active;
Fuerteventura adds nine new cases, with 131 active.
La Palma have not registered any new positives today remaining 22 current cases;
El Hierro, also reports no new cases, remaining with one active.
La Gomera reports six new positives, to total 22 active.

To date, a total of 2,294,891 diagnostic tests have been carried out across the Islands since this all began,  5,247 of those tests were carried out on Wednesday.

Fuerteventura moves back to Alert Level 2, from next Monday

All the islands have continued at the lowest alert level, 1, for COVID-19 for many weeks now, however numbers have been increasing over the last fortnight and on Thursday it was announced that Fuerteventura will be the first island, since the summer, to return to Level 2 restrictions.

Across the archipelago the 7-day accumulated incidence (AI) has increased by by nearly 20 percentage points, which has led the Health Ministry to stress the importance of maintaining prevention measures to avoid transmission risks, since the increases are consistent with the relaxation of mask-use measures indoors, interpersonal distances, hand hygiene and ventilation guidance.

The Canary Islands Ministry of Health this Thursday updated the health alert levels, in line with the epidemiological report from the General Directorate of Public Health, using the consolidated data, current as of November 10, on the evolution of health indicators for COVID-19, raising the Health Alert on the island of Fuerteventura to Level 2 (amber) for the next fortnight at least, while the rest of the islands will for now continue for another week at Alert Level 1, (green)

The change for Fuerteventura will come into effect at 00.00 hours next Monday the 15th until the 25th of November, being subject to periodic revaluations, even before the indicated date if necessary.

Across the entire territory of the Autonomous Community, between November 3 and 9, 912 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, which represents an increase of around 64.3% in the daily average of new cases in relation to the previous week, when 555 cases were registered.

The average 7-day AI in the Canary Islands as a whole and by islands increased from a daily average of 28 cases per 100,000 population at the start of November to now 44.4/100k cases this Thursday. By islands, all are currently viewed as being at medium risk of worsening, except La Palma, which this week is low risk and El Hierro at very low.

The daily average 14-day AI has increased on all the islands and is currently at medium risk of worsening.

The evolution of the accumulated incidence corresponds to a general relaxation in the maintenance of non-pharmacological preventive measures (masks, physical distance, ventilation, hand washing) despite the fact that these measures have amply demonstrated their effectiveness. Therefore, the Ministry of Health insists on the need to maintain preventive measures to avoid the risks of transmission of COVID-19.

Healthcare indicators

Regarding healthcare indicators, the current daily average of conventional hospital beds being occupied over the last week by COVID-19 patients has increased by 12.5% compared to the previous week, say the ministry in a statement, with an average of 90 beds occupied, although the current percentage of occupancy stands at a very low-risk level on all the islands, except Gran Canaria and La Palma, which are at low risk, the next level up.

The number of ICU beds occupied has now increased for the first time in two months, interrupting the downward trend, although this indicator currently remains at low risk, with a total of 20 patients currently admitted to ICUs in the Archipelago.

The median age of all people hospitalised for COVID-19 in the last 14 days is 65.5 years old.

80% of all the people admitted to critical care units, diagnosed during the last 2 weeks, had not received the complete vaccination schedule, and 54.4% of the people admitted for COVID, and diagnosed in the last 14 days, had no previous pathologies, this percentage increases in unvaccinated patients, among whom 57.1% had no other known prior pathologies.

Accumulated incidence in unvaccinated people

The cumulative incidence rate of COVID-19 cases over the last week has 3.2 times higher among the unvaccinated compared to the rate among the population that has received the full vaccine regimen.

Situation of Fuerteventura

In the case of Fuerteventura, the report includes that in the last week there has been a considerable increase in the AI7d, up by 133% between November 3 and 9 (from 30 cases per 100,000 population to now 70.2/100k) which is to say, less than five percentage points from being classified as high risk. This increase is more starkly marked in the population aged 65 and over.

With regard to care home occupation, the report states that the impact of these increase in incidence on the indicators is not yet clear, but it is expected that it will manifest itself over the next week, given that serious cases take, on average, 14 days from the onset of symptoms to hospital admission. Since the island is now classified as being at high risk of transmission, due to a sudden worsening of the epidemiological situation (rapid increase in the incidence rate in a week, especially in people over 65 years of age), they have proposed the Health Alert be raised Level 2.

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