No panic over rising Covid numbers, says Latvian health authority

The number of Covid cases has tripled in Europe during the month, and the case count is also on the rise in Latvia. For the time being it does not create an additional burden for hospitals and the illness symptoms are mild, Latvian Television reported on July 3.

The mild but contagious virus Omicron sub-type BA5 is spreading across Europe and half a million new infections are recorded daily. In Latvia, several hundred people are infected daily.

Ilze Arāja, representative of the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC), said that the Center does not raise alarm because the patients are active, young people who are treated at home relatively easily. The most infected are between 30 and 39 years of age in Rīga, Pierīga and Zemgale.

“This is a type of Omicron, we see it from sequencing, a mild illness, [treatment] under the supervision of a family doctor and at home,” said Arāja. “It is the travel season, summer entertainment, concerts and festivals, [..] restrictions lifted.”

In Latvia's Infectology Center, ticks are a higher priority than Covid at the moment. The number of patients in the Covid department has not exceeded 20 per day.

“There are 10 to 12 patients at the same time, with no one in intensive therapy or emergency room,” said Baiba Rozentāle, chief physician of the Latvian Infectology Centre. “Even more, we have 19 today and only three have insignificant lung damage.”

These patients have underlying chronic illnesses, said Rozentāle, otherwise they too would be treated at home. Whether a person is infected is also affected by the fact of their vaccination, when the last dose has been received and whether vaccination has been carried out in general.

“The third dose has to be there, it shows that for those who get ill, the disease is mild and they recover. Not die,” Rozentāle said. “But whether there needs to be a fourth dose will be shown in time. Probably only for risk groups.”

The SPKC recalls that patients at risk can use face masks and ventilation is still a necessity.

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