The city of Barcelona has seen a 66% increase in new coronavirus cases in the last week, according to data from the Barcelona Public Health Agency. In the last week in June, 90 new cases were detected by PCR tests, while last week the number of new cases detected rose to 150.
However, in relation to the distribution of these cases by district, the Barcelona city councillor responsible for health, Gemma Tarafa, denies that there are any localized outbreaks, but rather, that new cases have been detected "scattered across different areas of the city" and that, in many cases, they are "focused on homes."
The weekly evolution of cases has been: 159 in the first week of June, 139 in the following week, 84 in the third week of June and 90 in the last week. Thus, the trend had been steadily downward during the first three weeks of June, but has turned around in the last fortnight.
The largest increase in confirmed positive cases is in Sants-Montjuïc, which went from 7 new cases a fortnight ago to 27 last week. Sant Andreu, in the same period, rose from 4 cases to 17; Sant Martí, from 13 to 24; and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, went from one confirmed new case to 7.
There have been small increases in three other districts in the city: the Eixample (from 38 to 43), Les Corts (from one to four) and Horta Guinardó (from 9 to 13), while the figures haven't moved in Ciutat Vella (5 new cases) or Nou Barris (also 5) and they have fallen slightly in Gràcia (from 7 to 5).
Tarafa observed that figures have been circulating that mix the positive results from PCR tests with the results of serological (or antibody) tests. The latter do not indicate currently infectious cases, and the councillor noted that only PCR tests should be taken into account to assess the current situation.
Situation is "nothing like Lleida"
Tarafa described the figures as a "small increase" and defended that the case of Barcelona is "nothing like" the situation in Lleida, where the 200,000 people living in the Segrià county have had a new intermediate-strength lockdown imposed. "We can say very clearly that it is not comparable to the situation in Lleida," Tarafa stated. The city council is “tracing” the contacts of the 150 confirmed cases this week in order to ensure that the focuses are controlled.
But as well as asserting in the press conference that Barcelona's situation is far from that of Lleida, the councillor also appealed for people to continue to exercise caution and reiterated the importance of maintaining measures to prevent contagion, to keep the virus under control and avoid lockdowns. "It's very important that we understand that we are living with the virus," she said.
Deputy mayor Jaume Collboni also stated that what has happened in Lleida "is a warning" and a message for everyone to understand that we are not in the post-Covid phase but in the "controlled Covid" phase.
More positive results from antibody tests
The city council's assessment this afternoon is based on the new cases detected by PCR tests. However, the Barcelona city health region has seen a significant increase in positive results for serological or antibody tests (also referred to as "rapid" tests) in the last week.
The increase in this type of test is especially visible in the Sants-Montjuïc and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi neighbourhoods. These tests “do not indicate a current positive case” and therefore says they should not be included in the count.