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Positive tests: the spread of the virus

The number of people who test positive (confirmed cases) indicates the extent to which the virus has spread in the Netherlands. The dashboard contains a lot of information. What should you know about positive tests?

Care worker takes test

This article explains the information on the Dashboard page 'Number of confirmed cases’. See that page for current figures.

When a person tests positive for COVID-19, the organisation that conducted the test is required by law to report the results to RIVM. At the top left of the page you’ll see the total number of confirmed cases (positive tests) in the past 24 hours (until 10.00 in the morning). This includes results from the municipal health services (GGD), which account for approximately three-quarters of all tests, and from hospitals, nursing homes and some commercial test providers, which together account for the remaining quarter.

Number of confirmed cases/Average number of cases per 100.000 inhabitants per day

Alert value is important

In addition to the number of confirmed cases, to the right you can see the average number of confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants. This figure is important for policymakers. If it is above 7 (alert value), measures are necessary to keep the virus under control.

Where do the people who have tested positive live?

Of course more people live in Amsterdam than in a small town like Bergeijk. To be able to compare municipalities with different-sized populations, the dashboard shows the number of confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. You can use the map to compare safety regions or municipalities.

Distibution of confirmed cases in the Netherlands

How old are the people who have tested positive?

The ‘Distribution by age’ graph shows the spread of the virus among the different age groups. The grey bars on the left show the percentage of people in the Netherlands in each age group. The blue bars on the right show the percentage of people who test positive by age group.

Distribution by age

If people in all age groups were equally as likely to be infected with the virus, all the blue bars on the right would be the same length as the grey bars on the left. Of course that is not the case. In the figure above, the grey bars on the left show that 12,8% of the population is between 20 and 29 years old. The blue bars show that on February 16, 16% of the people who tested positive were in this age group. This means that of the people who test positive more are in their 20s than you would expect based on the percentage of people in the Netherlands who fall into this age group.