At least two people living in a nursing home in Friesland have been found to have the more infectious variant of coronavirus first identified in Britain, the Leeuwarder Courant newspaper reported on Thursday.
The nursing home, in Surhuisterveen, was hit by a large number of cases at the beginning of the year and on Wednesday a random selection of 59 residents were again tested for coronavirus.
Of them 21, tested positive. ‘We know two of them definitely have the ‘British’ variant,’ a local health board spokesman told broadcaster RTL. ‘We are now doing further research and don’t rule out more cases. It is a major outbreak.’
In total, 45 residents in the Suyderhuys have now tested positive for coronavirus and two have died. More than 40 care home workers have also had a positive test result.
The nursing home has now cancelled visits and ramped up testing of its staff. Workers are also wearing additional protective clothing, the paper said.
The discovery that the ‘British variant’ has reached the nursing home has been a ‘big shock’ to residents, their families and staff, Jan Maarten Neuijens, chairman of the Kwadrant Groep which runs the home, told the LC.
The new variant is ‘a likely explanation for the large number of infections in the Suyderhuys and a sad conclusion,’ he said. ‘We really regret this.’
Prime minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday that the Dutch lockdown is being extended because the infection rate has not dropped enough and because of fears about the spread of the new strain, known as B-117.
The public health institute has reported 6,575 new cases in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, a rise of around 400 on Wednesday’s total, but below the weekly average of just under 7,000.
More people were discharged from hospital than admitted and the number of patients being treated on intensive care wards has dipped below 700, the figures show.