Omicron reaches 82,9% and worsening can increase pressure on health and mortality

According to the report released today by the General Directorate of Health (DGS) and the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA)

The Omicron variant is responsible for 82,9% of the infections registered on Wednesday, December 29, in the country, advances the risk analysis of the pandemic, which alerts to the "signs of pressure" in the ability to track contacts of cases of Covid-19.

"Since 6 December, there has been an exponential growth in the proportion of probable cases of the Omicron variant, having reached an estimated proportion of 82,9% on 29 December", refer to the "red lines" of the pandemic of the Directorate- General Health Department (DGS) and the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

According to the report released today, between the 22nd and 28th of December, 61% of the notified cases were isolated in less than 24 hours, when in the previous week this figure was at 84%.

In addition, 39% of all reported cases had all their contacts tracked and isolated within 24 hours, according to the health authorities' risk analysis, which states that, on average, they were involved in tracking daily in the last seven days. 638 full-time professionals, 148 more than the week before.

"The ability to track case contacts reveals signs of pressure," warns the document.

According to the "red lines", in the last seven days more than 1,5 million Covid-19 tests were carried out, whereas in the previous week there had been about 1,2 million crashes.

The worsening of the pandemic is expected to cause greater pressure on the health system and mortality, warn the "red lines", who say that the Center has already exceeded the alert level of occupation in intensive care.

“Increased pressure on the entire health system and on mortality is likely. Its magnitude is still uncertain, but it will result from the rapid increase in the number of cases and will also be conditioned by the likely lower severity of the infection by the Omicron variant and by the protective effect of vaccination, especially the booster dose", refers to the risk analysis of pandemic.

According to the weekly report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), on Tuesday, 28 December, the 151 patients with Covid-19 admitted to intensive care represented 59% of the total critical threshold of 255 beds occupied, a value that demonstrates a “stable trend” of this indicator.

With 37 patients in intensive care, the Center is the region with the highest occupation of intensive care units (ICU), with 109% of the alert level of 34 beds, followed by the Algarve (78%) and the North (69 %).

The defined alert level corresponds to 75% of the number of beds available for Covid-19 patients in intensive care for mainland Portugal.

The management of the capacity of the National Health Service presupposes a network response which, in the case of intensive care medicine, means that «regional needs can be met with responses from other regions with greater capacity», the document states.

According to the health authorities, the age group with the most admissions to the ICU is between 60 and 79 years (92 patients), in which a stable trend has been observed since the last weeks of November.

The “red lines” also indicate that, on Wednesday, December 29, the specific mortality by Covid-19 was 21,1 deaths in 14 days per one million inhabitants, which corresponds to a decrease of 3% in relation to the last report and indicating a stable trend.

"This figure is above the threshold of 20 deaths in 14 days a million inhabitants defined by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC), indicating a high impact of the epidemic on mortality", says the risk analysis of the pandemic.

The analysis of the different indicators reveals an epidemic activity of the coronavirus of very high intensity, with an increasing trend at national level, with Portugal recording a cumulative incidence at 14 days of 1.206 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.

The age group with the highest incidence corresponded to people between 20 and 29 years old, with 2.327 cases per 100 inhabitants, according to the report, which also indicates that the proportion of positive tests for SARS-CoV-2 was 6,7% , when in the previous week it was 3,4%, above the defined threshold of 4% and with an increasing trend.