13th Feb 2021 @ 9:43 am

The Canarian Government decided to keep Lanzarote in Level 4 on Thursday – the highest of its four levels that dictate curfew times, closing hours, maximum numbers of people in gatherings and other measures. But how is this decision arrived at?

Each week the decisions are based on several indicators that have been developed by the Spanish Health Ministry and the Canarian Health Service, and the process is fairly automatic. If you’re interested in when Lanzarote is likely to move to a lower level, the information below, combined with the Canarian Health Service’s Daily Covid-19 Situation Report, will help you find out.

There are eight indicators that are taken into account when deciding which level an island should go into. These are divided into two blocks. The first block contains the accumulated incidence (AI) rate over 7 and 14 days (which calculates the number of cases per 100,000 people in those periods); the 7-day and 14-day AI rates for over-65-year-olds; the percentage of tests which were positive in the last 7 days, and a traceability percentage that measures the number of cases that have been successfully traced to identified outbreaks.

The second block contains two criteria:  the occupation level of the local hospital, and that of its intensive care unit.

The indicators, and the numbers that decide each risk group are:

                                                Level 4                        Level 3            Level 2            Level 1

                                                Very high-risk             High Risk        Medium Risk  Low Risk

Block 1 indicators

AI rate 14 days:                      >250                            >150                >50                  >25

AI rate 7 days:            >125                            >75                  >25                  >10

AI rate 14 days + 65:             >150                            >100                >50                  >20

AI Rate 7 Days +65:               >75                              >50                  >25                  >10

Positive tests:                         >15%                           >10%               >7%                 >4%

Traceability:                           <30%                           <50%               <65%               <80%

Block 2 indicators

Hospital Occupation:            >15%                           >10%               >5%                 >2%

Intensive Care occupation:  >25%                          >15%               >10%               >5%

If at least two indicators from Block 1 and one from Block 2 have reached a higher level while the rest are at a lower level, the region will be judged to be in the higher level.

So, for instance, if we look at the daily Canarian Situation Report, we see that Lanzarote has the following figures.

Block 1

AI rate 14 days:                      456                  (very high risk)           

AI rate 7 days:            200.28             (very high risk)           

AI rate 14 days + 65:             338                  (very high risk)           

AI Rate 7 Days +65:               141.04             (very high risk)           

Positive tests:                          10.58%            (high risk)                   

Traceability:                            82.3%              (minimal risk)            

Block 2 indicators

Hospital Occupation:              9.46%              (medium risk)

Intensive Care occupation:   41.67%            (very high risk)

With four Block 1 indicators in the very high-risk category and one in the second block also at very high-risk, there was no chance of Lanzarote escaping from Level 4 this week, and it will have quite a way to go before it does so.

The most concerning indicator is the intensive care occupation, which remains unacceptably high. As we’ve seen, some patients can remain in IC units for several weeks and there’s little we can do to reduce this number (although one patient has been transferred from Lanzarote to another island).

The good news is that all the rates are now coming down, albeit slowly, and Lanzarote has the second-best tracing rate on the islands after Gran Canaria.

Sources: Actuaciones de respuesta coordinada para el control de la transmisión de COVID. Ministerio de Sanidad, Consumo y Bienestar Social

Informe diario de situación de COVID-19 en Canarias – Servicio Canario de la Salud.

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