The anti-epidemic risk index is at 86, blanket antigen testing contributes to the high number of newly diagnosed patients

According to the Czech anti-epidemic system 2.0, the summarised risk index for the Czech Republic is at 86. The figure corresponds to the fifth alert level, which the Czech Republic is currently in. The anti-epidemic method was updated to version 2.0 with respect to voluntary antigen testing, which affects the number of newly diagnosed patients.

Classification into the respective levels is based on several epidemiological indicators, such as the share of hospitalised patients not detected in the community in the past 14 days, the 14-day incidence per 14,000 inhabitants, a simplified calculation of the reproduction number and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants focused on groups of senior citizens.

There are several fundamental questions for calculating the risk index: How many people have been infected lately?, How many seniors have been infected lately?, Is the number of people infected rising? and Can those infected be detected quickly and effectively?

“If we all observe the implemented anti-epidemic measures, the positive effect should be apparent at latest by early next week. Voluntary antigen testing, which also detects asymptomatic patients, also has an impact on the rising number of newly diagnosed persons. The good news is that there is considerable interest in this testing among the public,” said Minister for Health Jan Blatný.

The rising number of cases is related to the increased number of performed tests. At present, about 60 to 70 thousand tests are performed daily, that being the sum of PCR and antigen tests.

“We may continue to state that the tracing of epidemically relevant contacts is successful. Hygienists
generally trace about 70% of contacts within 24 hours. The importance of the implemented measures is confirmed by the fact that people report 0.93 risky contacts on average. This means that the mobility of people has been reduced,”
says Chief Hygienist of the Czech Republic Jarmila Rážová.

The score is calculated for the entire country. In the Czech Republic, the anti-epidemic system is classified into five alert levels, which are linked to their respective anti-epidemic measures concerning, for example, the wearing of masks, assembling, shops, culture and education, as well as their easing.

The anti-epidemic system 2.0 was developed by the Ministry of Health and the Institute for Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) in cooperation with experts from Czech and foreign universities. The score is calculated and implemented into the online IHIS system and published on the website.

“The high increase in positively diagnosed patients is caused primarily through community transmission of the virus. This factor is apparent i.e., in the value of the R number, which is consistently above 1. Now, after Christmas, the system has stabilized somewhat and the R number ranges between 1.1 and 1.2. It must be noted that the spread of the epidemic is also reflected in the number of infected seniors and vulnerable groups of patients, which poses a risk of increased hospitalizations,” said the Director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics Ladislav Dušek.

“The inpatient system and capacity of hospitals for patients with Covid-19 is at the capacity limit in a number of regions. The main reason is a lack of staff, especially nurses, and to a lesser degree doctors. Infection of the staff and COVID-19 are the main reasons for the shortage of medical staff. In many cases, a work quarantine is applied, without which the staffing situation would be even worse. Soldiers are helping to care for patients in hospitals, and in some regions work standby has been invoked for students of medical schools. Medical university students are also helping on a voluntary basis. The inpatient dispatching system helps us to place patients in situations where there is no adequate bed in the given region with respect to the patient’s clinical condition,” notes the Deputy Minister for Health, Chairman of the Czech Society for Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Medicine and head of the COVID Clinical Group  Vladimír Černý.

The current measures, numbers of positively diagnosed patients and other information relating to the COVID-19 epidemic can be monitored on the special coronavirus website of the Ministry of Health koronavirus.mzcr.cz or on the government portal covid.gov.cz.