On 24 August 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced that 97 Covid-19 patient admissions were reported in Switzerland over the last 24 hours. Over the last 7 days a total of 325 Covid-19 admissions have been reported.
The number of hospital admissions is currently far below the peaks of the first and second waves, but it is rapidly approaching the level seen during the third wave, which peaked in early April 2021.
Two patterns revealed by the data are the lower age of most of those admitted and the predominance of unvaccinated patients.
During the first two waves, which peaked in March and November 2020, the majority of those ending up in hospital were 70 and over. However, now there is a shift towards younger people. Those 70 and over now make up only 18% of hospitalisations compared to 52% during the first wave and 64% during the second. The largest share of Covid-19 patients are now aged from 30 to 69. This age group now makes up 70% of total admissions, compared to 34% during the November 2020 wave of infections. Currently, the hardest hit age group, which makes up 40% of the total, is aged 40 to 59.
It is also clear from current admissions data that a failure to get vaccinated is behind rising hospital admissions. Urs Karrer, vice president of the Covid-19 scientific task force, told RTS that a large majority of hospitalisations could be avoided. Currently, 9 out of 10 patients hospitalised are not fully vaccinated.
The shift in the age of those ending up in hospital is also reflected in overall vaccination rate data. Around 83% of those aged 70 and over are fully vaccinated, with significantly lower rates among the 40 to 49 (56%), 50 to 59 (64%) and 60 to 69 (74%) age groups.
According to Karrer, more needs to be done to inform the 40-59 age group in particular of the importance of vaccinating. Failure to vaccinate is putting pressure on the health system. Get vaccinated to protect yourself, those close to you and health care workers, said Karrer.
Around 40% of recent infections occurred on holiday, with around 80% of these traced to south eastern Europe.