Covid-19: admissions and deaths may rise again in older people, warns DGS

The General Directorate of Health (DGS) and the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) this Friday updated the red lines of covid-19 in Portugal, which establish the different parameters for controlling the pandemic.

By this time the Delta variant, initially detected in India, is already prevalent throughout the national territory, accounting for almost 95% of cases recorded in the country.

With an epidemic activity “of high intensity and a growing trend”, this mutation already affects all ages, having a greater impact in the Algarve, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and North regions.

Its frequency has increased in all regions during the last few weeks, varying between 87.0% (North) and 100% (Alentejo and the Autonomous Regions of Azores and Madeira) in the week 27/2021, according to data collected up to the date”, informs the report.

It is because of the Delta variant, say DGS and INSA, that the pressure on health care has been “gradually rising.”

Although the current risk of infection in older groups is lower than that of the general population, the increase in the number of cases in the age group above 80 years old may lead to an increase in the number of hospitalized and eventually the number of deaths in the next weeks”, adds the report, which points to the possibility of an increase in deaths of patients over 80 years.

Indeed, the incidence rate has risen in all age groups, and the red line report highlights the increase in the elderly. Although they continue to have fewer cases, the increase was 54% compared to the previous week, which means an incidence of 128 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in people over 80 years old.

All age groups show an increasing trend in incidence. The age group with the highest cumulative incidence at 14 days corresponded to the group aged 20 to 29 years (1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants)”, adds the DGS.

Despite this, Portugal is still below the 255 beds defined as the limit in intensive care units, which have an occupancy rate of 70% in relation to that value.

This is actually one of the few parameters that the country complies with at this time, since the transmissibility index is at 1.07 (well above the threshold level of 1), the incidence soared to 427 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (almost the double the 240 defined), and the positivity of the tests also increased, now being 5.2%, above the 4% established as the limit.

These are data that confirm the latest figures that Portugal has registered, with two days in a row with 16 deaths, the highest figures in about four months.