Bucharest is close to entering “red scenario” as number of new COVID-19 cases in Romania remains high

Romania’s capital Bucharest is close to entering the “red scenario” due to the high number of new COVID-19 infection cases recorded in the last 14 days. Meanwhile, the number of new cases remains high in the country, with over 3,100 people testing positive in the last 24 hours, according to official data reported on Tuesday, October 13, at noon.

Bucharest has reached an incidence rate of 2.97 new cases per 1,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, as of Tuesday, October 13 (up from 2.09 on October 6), has calculated. The calculated incidence rate is based on official data reported by the Strategic Communications Group (CGS) – 6,387 new daily cases between September 30 and October 13 – and the city’s registered population reported by the National Statistics Institute – 2.15 million inhabitants.

However, the CGS reported an official incidence rate of only 2.69 new cases per 1,000 inhabitants in Bucharest on October 13.

New controversies have arisen in recent days about the actual incidence rate in Bucharest, as the official reports from the CGS and the National Public Health Institute (INSP) were indicating different numbers. While CGS announced an incidence rate of 2.65 in Bucharest on Monday, October 12, the INSP weekly report showed a rate of 3.11. However, this is because the INSP was calculating its rate based on the resident population, which is lower than the registered population used by the CGS. In the meantime, INSP has updated its report to show the incidence rates based on both population numbers.

The incidence rate is very important, and especially the threshold of 3 cases per 1,000 inhabitants, which triggers the “red scenario.” This scenario implies closing schools in the affected city or region and switching all students to online learning. It could also trigger new restrictions imposed at a local level.

On Tuesday, Bucharest recorded 499 new cases in the last 24 hours, of a total of 3,109 reported in the country. Several counties also reported high numbers on Tuesday: Cluj – 172 new cases, Bacau – 156, Prahova – 122, Mures and Neamt – 115, Iasi – 113, Timis – 111, Alba – 101.

Fifteen counties in Romania (out of a total of 40) also recorded incidence rates of over 1.5 new cases per 1,000 inhabitants on October 13. In Alba, Valcea, Bacau, Iasi, and Neamt counties, the rates were over 2. Meanwhile, eight counties had incidence rates under 1 per 1,000 inhabitants.

Romania’s countrywide incidence rate on October 13 stood at 1.58 new cases per 1,000 inhabitants (based on the registered population), and 1.81 new cases per 1,000 inhabitants (based on the resident population).

The number of new cases recorded in Romania in the last 14 days was over 35,000, representing 21.8% of the total 160,000 cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. The new cases in the last 7 days totaled 20,849, up by 47% compared to the previous 7-day period, when 14,198 new cases were recorded. The growth rate in Bucharest was lower than at country level – only 34%. 

The total death toll due to COVID-19 in Romania reached 5,535, as of October 13, with 68 new victims in the last 24 hours. The death rate in the country was thus 3.46% (of the total number of cases).

About 6,400 patients were being treated in local hospitals for COVID-19, 651 of whom were under intensive care in ATI units.

The incidence rates by county in Romania, on October 13, are available here.

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(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Sabin Cirstoveanu)

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