Covid: Percentage of positive results in Catalonia doubles in one month

EPG drops suddenly but experts claim it is due to delays in processing data

LAIA SERÓ MORENO / GEMMA GARRIDO GRANGER

A month ago, towards the end of September, six people out of every hundred tested positive for coronavirus; this figure has now more than doubled. According to the latest data published by the Health Department, the percentage of positive tests every day in Catalonia is 13.05%. This percentage was kept under 10% during the summer months but, worryingly, has been growing continuously since 28 September. According to the World Health Organization, no more than 5% of PCR tests should be coming back positive for a country to have the pandemic under control.

It is also worth noting today that, according to data published by the Health Department, EPG, which measures the potential growth of the pandemic, has fallen suddenly from 887 yesterday to 840. Experts claim this is due to a delay in processing data, rather than a substantial improvement in the epidemiological situation. In recent days, laboratories have begun to become overwhelmed and test results are taking more than two days to be delivered. "It is very possible that there is backlog in processing results and data is pending to be uploaded", explains Clara Prats, a researcher at Catalonia Politechnic University. She adds: "If the drop persists for a few more days, we will have to start thinking that it is improving".

Prats says EPG is a tool that works very well to detect new spikes: "It is a good warning signal or alarm. So far, we have used it to track the end of lockdown and now it is one of the indicators that help us describe the situation". In other words, it has helped to monitor the arrival of the second wave and now it has to allow us to assess what to expect in the next days of the epidemic: whether it will slow down, stop or grow even more.

As a result of these data, which indicate an upward trend in the middle of the second wave, the number of hospital admissions in Catalonia is growing: right now there are 2,205 hospitalised patients (67 more than yesterday), 398 of whom are in intensive care (30 more than yesterday). There were also 4,672 new confirmed infections and 11 deaths, which increase the total number of Covid victims in Catalonia since the beginning of the pandemic to 13,896.

Incidence per 100,000 inhabitants out of control

The cumulative incidence per 100,000 inhabitants also remains out of control, standing at around 700 according to the latest data. This marks a sharp increase in the past months: six weeks ago it stood at under 200. Cumulative incidence  makes it possible to estimate how many people have been infected and therefore may have the capacity to spread the disease in a territory in proportion to its population. It is not exact as it is calculated by dividing the total number of diagnoses in the last fourteen days by the total Catalan population.

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