Most Italian regions show moderate Covid risk

Most Italian regions showed data consistent with a moderate Covid-19 pandemic risk while three regions have the most probability of moving to a higher risk level, the country’s National Health Institute (ISS) announced.

Eighteen of 21 regions and autonomous provinces were classified at moderate risk in the latest monitoring report issued by the ISS and the Health Ministry, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Only the central Lazio region, and northeast autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano were assessed as at low risk.

The incidence of new infections on the overall population slightly grew to 73 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the week August 2-8, compared to 68 cases per 100,000 in the previous week, the report revealed.

However, some regions registered an incidence rate much above the national average, especially Sardinia (141.8 cases per 100,000), central Tuscany (129.9), and southern Sicily (127.2).

According to the country’s parameters, the incidence rate is consistent with a low-risk scenario when it stays below the threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

While still classifying them as at moderate risk in the report, the ISS specified Tuscany, Sicily, and Apulia were the regions with the most probability of moving to a higher level of risk.

In the report, the ISS confirmed the Delta variant was widely prevalent in the country.

An encouraging positive signal came from the latest COVID-19 reproduction number (R), which was at 1.27 in the week August 2-8, down from 1.56 in the previous week, according to the report.

The R number is an indication of how fast the virus spreads among the population, and a value above one means one infectious person would averagely transmit the infection to more than one other person.

Assessing the latest results, ISS experts noted the rate of bed occupancy by Covid-19 patients, which since late July has become the key parameter to decide whether any region has to be moved to a higher level of risk, has remained low nationwide.

“The bed occupancy in normal wards and in intensive care is around 5.2 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively,” Giovanni Rezza, Director of Infectious Diseases Department at the National Health Institute, said.

“It means we are still well below the critical threshold at national level.”

As of Saturday, Italy’s registered Covid-19 caseload and death toll stood at 4,427,827 and 128,379, respectively.