Adjustments to the supervision system
The supervision system set up for COVID-19 monitoring in Luxembourg is continuously adapted to produce indicators that reflect the evolution of the pandemic in real time.
These adjustments are made in consideration of the measures taken to curb the pandemic, the most recent scientific knowledge on the virus, as well as international epidemiological standards.
To this end, an adaptation of the data on the number of tests carried out is being implemented in the daily and weekly reports, from Wednesday 24 March on. Following the increased use of rapid antigen tests (RAT) in the fight against the coronavirus in Luxembourg, it was decided to count RATs separately, in order to give them a better visibility in the statistics.
The antigen tests are thus presented separately from the PCR tests and the new infections reported refer only to persons detected by a PCR test (confirmed in the laboratory). As a result of these adjustments, a difference of approximately 6,000 PCR tests performed and 100 new infections will be reflected in the published figures (see weekly report).
Update on the situation
During the week from 15 to 21 March, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 increased from 1,240 to 1,564 (+25%), while the number of their identified close contacts also increased from 3,669 cases the previous week to 3,846 (+4.8%).
Among 97 people with a positive antigen test, 41 also had a positive PCR test.
The number of PCR tests performed during the week of 15 to 21 March has increased from 62,517 to 63,501.
As of 21 March, the number of active infections was 3,069 (compared to 2,796 on 14.03.), while the number of people healed increased from 54,438 to 55,709. The average age of those diagnosed as COVID-19 positive increased slightly to 37.4 years.
The number of new deaths remained the same, with 28 deaths related to COVID-19. The average age of the deceased is 81 years.
In the hospitals, there was a slight increase in admissions of confirmed COVID patients, with 99 hospitalisations in normal care, compared to 95 the previous week, and a slight decrease from 27 to 21 hospitalisations in intensive care.
The two COVID-19 Consultation Centres (CCCs), located in Kirchberg and Esch-sur-Alzette, have recorded a total of 10,261 visits since their opening, including 722 visits for the week of 8 to 14 March, which is clearly higher than the previous week (583).
It should be noted that from Friday 26 March, the CCC will be open between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., as well as on Easter Monday, with the same opening hours. The CCCs will however remain closed on Easter Sunday.
It is important to remember that the CCCs welcomes only symptomatic people, i.e. those with signs of a COVID-19 infection and people already diagnosed with COVID-19. Children under the age of 6 cannot be cared for in the CCC. They will have to be cared for by their paediatrician or general practitioner or in another hospital structure in case of emergency, in particular at the Kannerklinik of the CHL.
These are not screening/sampling centres, nor are they equipped to receive people with serious health problems (severe coughing, shortness of breath, malaise, chest pain, cyanosis). These persons are asked to contact the emergency services of hospitals.
Positivity rate and incidence rate
For the reference period, the effective reproduction rate (R) slightly increased with 1.13% compared to 1.05% the previous week, as well as the positivity rate on all tests performed (prescriptions, Large Scale Testing, contact tracing), with 2.46% compared to 1.98% the previous week (average over the week). It should be noted that the positivity rate for tests carried out on prescription, i.e. for people with symptoms, increased to 5.89%, compared to 5.11% the previous week.
The 7-day incidence rate is 250 per 100,000 residents. Note that for the week of 8 March, the incidence rate was 198 cases per 100,000 residents over 7 days. Compared to the previous week, the incidence rate has increased in all age groups. The age group 75+ years recorded the highest increase (+46%), followed by the 30-44 age group (+32%). The 60-74 age group continues to have the lowest incidence rate with 149 cases per 100,000 residents, whereas in the other age groups the incidence rate ranges between 254 and 285 cases per 100,000 residents.
Quarantine and isolation
For the week from 15 to 21 March, 2,745 people were in isolation (+5.8%) and 4,699 in quarantine (+26% compared to the previous week).
For the 1,564 new cases, the family circle remains by far the most frequent source of transmission of COVID-19 infections, with 43.1%, followed by the work place (7.8%), the education sector (6.5%), the help and care sector (4.0%) and leisure activities (3.4%). The rate of contamination for which the source is not clearly attributable remains stable at 30.2%.
Vaccinations: update on the situation
For the week of 15 to 21 March, a total of 15,201 doses were administered. 12,902 people received a 1st dose and 2,299 received a 2nd dose.
The schedule of the amounts of doses to which Luxembourg is theoretically entitled according to the pro rata of 0.14% of the Luxembourg population, as provided for in the contracts already concluded by the Commission with the various manufacturers, as well as the amounts already delivered to the Grand Duchy to date and expected to be delivered by the end of March 2021, can be consulted in the attached weekly report (PDF).
To date, Luxembourg will therefore have enough vaccines to vaccinate 123,829 people by the end of April 2021. It should be noted, however, that the amount of doses is subject to adjustments from week to week, based on manufacturers' production capacities and deliveries.
It should also be noted that from Monday 29 March 2021, the opening hours of the vaccination centres will be extended. They will be open from Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The evolution of the variants
For the week of 8 to 14 March, the population sequencing coverage was 20.8%, well above the optimal rate of 10% recommended by ECDC in order to have an optimal representative sampling.
Regarding the representative sampling of 260 tests carried out for calendar week 10/2021, the following distribution of variants can be observed:
- The UK variant (B.1.1.7) represents 63.5% of the cases
- The South African SA variant (B.1.351) represents 20.4% of the cases
Wastewater monitoring in Luxembourg as part of SARS-CoV-2
According to the latest CORONASTEP report drawn up by the LIST (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology), the level of contamination of the 13 treatment plants sampled during the week of 15 to 21 March still indicates a high prevalence of the virus in waste water at national level. However, the situation seems to have stabilised over the last two weeks. This trend will have to be confirmed by the analyses performed in the coming weeks.
All CORONASTEP reports are available on the LIST website: https://www.list.lu/en/covid-19/coronastep/.
Press release by the Ministry of Health, the Laboratoire national de santé (LNS) and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)