COVID-19 hospitalizations rise in Italy: report

ROME, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients have surged in Italy, so have admissions to intensive care units (ICU) albeit at a slower rate, a report showed on Wednesday.

According to the Italian Federation of Health and Hospital Agencies (FIASO), overall COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country grew by 19.5 percent over the week ending Tuesday.

It was the second consecutive week of double-digit growth, following a 24-percent increase a week earlier. Nevertheless, in ICUs the increase was smaller, rising by 9 percent over the last week.

Notably, FIASO's data showed that the number of unvaccinated individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 is growing faster than that of the vaccinated, with a 28 percent increase in admissions of unvaccinated patients on regular wards and a 30 percent increase in the ICUs.

On average, unvaccinated patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infections were around ten years younger than vaccinated individuals hospitalized for the disease, the report said.

The increases came as health officials warned of a potential winter wave of COVID-19 in Italy, the first European country hit hard by the pandemic in 2020.

Last week, the country's National Institute of Health (ISS) said the virus' transmission rate had surpassed 1.0 again, indicating the reach of the virus is increasing, with each recovered patient replaced by more than one new infection.

The country is also seeing a slower rollout of the latest booster vaccine. Giovanni Migliore, FIASO's president, said that the virus had become endemic in Italy, and as such it was better for health officials to pitch vaccine booster shots as seasonal measures.

FIASO also noted in the report that 65 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were initially being treated for other pathologies, while the remaining 35 percent were specifically hospitalized for COVID-19.

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