The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to increase, requiring maintaining a cautious approach. The outstanding commitment of the entire population during the reopening phase and the upkeep of strict measures has determined a lower impact of the virus on the health of our population and on our health system than in other European countries.

However, we should not underestimate the risk that would arise by authorising events and other initiatives, as well as individual behaviour, which may give rise to aggregation in public places, including improvised assemblies.

Key Points

  • An analysis of the data for the period  September 14-20, 2020 is provided below. Due to the time between exposure to the pathogen and the development of symptoms, and between these and the diagnosis and subsequent notification, many of the cases reported this week are likely to have become infected at the beginning of September. Some of the cases identified by screening, however, may have contracted the infection in earlier periods.
  • The virus today is circulating throughout the country. An increase in new cases reported in Italy is confirmed for the eighth consecutive week, with a cumulative incidence (ISS flow data) in the last 14 days of 31.4 per 100,000 inhabitants (period 7/9-20/9) (it was 29.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in the period 31/8-13/9). While in the last three weeks an increase in the median age of the reported cases was observed, this week the median age is stable at 41 years.
  • Ten Regions/PPAA reported an increase in the number of diagnosed cases, compared to the previous week (ISS flow), which cannot be attributed solely to an increase in imported cases (from foreign state and/or other Region) or an increase in screening activity. The majority of cases reported (84.2%) continue to be contracted on our national territory, with a slight decrease in cases imported from abroad (8% of new cases diagnosed this week vs. 10.8% the previous week) and also cases imported from other Regions/PAs (3.3% in the current week vs. 5.5% the previous week). 27.6% of new cases diagnosed throughout the country were identified through screening activities, while 35.8% were identified through contact tracing activities. The remaining cases were identified as symptomatic (31.4%) or the reason for the diagnostic assessment is not reported (5.2%).
  • In the period September 3 – 16, 2020, the Rt calculated on symptomatic cases is 0.95 (95%CI: 0.88 - 1.05), below 1 in its average value for the second consecutive week. For details on how to calculate and interpret the Rt reported, please refer to the in-depth study available on the website of the Higher Institute of Health. However, the national transmission index must be interpreted with caution, at this time of the epidemic. In fact, Rt calculated on symptomatic cases, while remaining the most reliable indicator at regional level and comparable over time for monitoring transmissibility, could slightly underestimate the real transmission of the virus at national level. Therefore, the national Rt must always be interpreted also considering the incidence data.
  • A total of 2868 active outbreaks were reported, of which 832 are new (the adopted definition of an outbreak foresees the identification of 2 or more related positive cases), both increasing for the eighth consecutive week (in the previous week of monitoring, 2397 active outbreaks were reported, of which 698 new). Outbreaks were reported in almost all provinces (102/107). Despite the high number of active outbreaks, 28.7% of new cases are not associated with known transmission chains. The majority of outbreaks continue to occur at home/family level (76.1% of all active outbreaks), with a slight increase in outbreaks associated with recreational activities (6.3%) and work (5.6%).
  • At national level, the occupancy rate of beds in the medical area increased from 4% to 5%, while the occupancy rate of beds in intensive care increased from 2% to 3%, with values above 10% in some Regions/PAs. Although there are still no signs of overburdening of the health care services, the observed trend could be reflected in increased efforts in the short term. Moreover, the important and growing commitment of our territorial services (Prevention Departments), ensuring that the current outbreaks are promptly identified and investigated, is confirmed.

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Data di pubblicazione: 29 settembre 2020, ultimo aggiornamento 20 novembre 2020