BEIRUT: Lebanon confirmed one new death and 91 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases registered in the country to 2,542.
Sixty-eight cases were found among the local population and 23 among travelers, the Health Ministry reported. There are now 38 deaths registered due to coronavirus complications and 1,452 recoveries since the illness was first detected nearly five months ago.
Twenty patients are currently in critical condition.
The largest cluster was detected in Baabda which registered 33 cases. Aley registered 11 cases, and three were found in Beirut.
A Health Ministry source told The Daily Star that buildings are being quarantined in the Baabda region to mitigate the spread.
Wednesday’s cases were detected among 2,592 PCR tests administered among the local population and 2,706 PCR tests for travelers in the last 24 hours.
Despite there being an increase in testing in recent weeks, the positivity rate has also dramatically increased, which has begun to worry experts.
The positivity rate is the percentage of positive cases out of the total number of tests and helps give a rough sense of the severity of the outbreak. For Lebanon's outbreak to be considered under control, the increase in testing would yield a smaller proportion of positives.
The World Health Organization, for example, advises that there should be a five percent positivity rate over 14 days before reopening any country.
In Lebanon, the positivity rate has increased by 162 percent since the airport reopened.
To make matters worse, the last two weeks have also seen hospitalizations from the virus increase by 43 percent, and those being held in ICU also increase by 11 percent, indicating that the virus is beginning to take an even greater toll on the country's already strained health care system.
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