Spain has now exceeded the figure of 700,000 cases of Covid-19 infection since the beginning of the pandemic. The Spanish health ministry registered 10,653 new infections this Thursday, 3,471 of them diagnosed in the last 24 hours. There is a small decrease compared to yesterday, when 11,289 new infections were recorded (4,143 diagnosed in the last day). It is worth noting, however, that today's figures do not include the latest contagions in Andalusia for technical reasons. With the new figures, Spain's total of cases confirmed by PCR tests now stands at 704,209.
The Madrid region remains the focus of this second wave of infections, with 1,097 new cases in the last 24 hours. It is followed by the Basque Country (481), Navarra (337) and Aragon (246). "This second wave that we are experiencing differs from the first by how it has moved through the territory," stated secretary of state for health, Silvia Calzón, who this Thursday replaced the epidemiologist Fernando Simón in the usual press conference. From now on, Simón will appear only on Mondays and Calzón on Thursdays.
More hospital admissions than discharges
The Spanish ministry says it is particularly concerned about the "imbalance between admissions and discharges," as Calzón put it, as the number of hospital admissions is higher than the figure for discharges, which could lead to the saturation of health centres.
In fact, the healthcare impact of the continued increase in infections is already being felt in hospitals, where occupancy of Covid patient beds has been around 9.5% for several days. The figure is higher in the case of intensive care, which are 17% occupied. In the last seven days, a total of 2,404 people have needed hospitalization for Covid-19, 189 of them in intensive care. Thus, there are currently 11,041 hospitalized, 1,445 in ICUs.
Again, the Community of Madrid ranks first in this statistic. Specifically, Madrid has 3,968 beds occupied by Covid patients (26.14% of the total available) and 443 in ICUs (38.93% of the total).
In the last seven days, the health ministry has registered 500 deaths from Covid-19 in the Spanish state. The total number of deaths caused by the virus in Spain since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 31,118.
New Madrid restrictions
During the data press conference, Calzón avoided commenting on the measures which Madrid is planning to take this Friday. In relation to demands from some Spanish autonomous communities to "close" the Madrid region, she said that it must be borne in mind that the situation is "changing" and that "everyone should be focused on controlling transmission."
The Community of Madrid is due to announce this Friday that it will expand the number of basic health areas affected by coronavirus restrictions, in addition to the 37 areas already included. Madrid health official Antonio Zapatero, also explained that the ministry is "considering" reducing the maximum occupancy levels for restaurants and bars in the Spanish capital and its region. Zapatero stressed during today's press conference that the data is stabilizing but that more measures need to be taken. The goal, he said, is to avoid "total lockdown" of the community, which would have "tragic" consequences for some sectors.
The Madrid government has also asked the Spanish health ministry to allow non-EU doctors to be hired and has announced that antibody testing will begin in the most affected areas from next week.