In 2020, 15% more people died in the province of Brabant than was expected for the year.
According to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 26.538 people passed away in Brabant in 2020. Some of these deaths have been attributed to the summer heatwave. But COVID-19 is the culprit in most of these cases.
The province is divided into three Public Health Departments (GGD). These are the CBS stats for those regions.
- GGD Hart voor Brabant: 11.312 people died (19,3% excess mortality).
- GGD Brabant-Zuidoost: This includes Eindhoven; 7.826 (14,1% excess mortality).
- GGD West-Brabant: 7.400 (ten per cent excess mortality).
15.000 more deaths countrywide
Eindhoven has the highest death rate – 2.225 people. Per province, most people died in Zuid-Holland (34.694), followed by Brabant. Last year, across the Netherlands, almost 169.000 people died. That’s 15.000 more than expected.
There are times when the country has a higher mortality rate. For example, during the 2015 and 2018 flu epidemics. Then, 5.000 and 9.000 more people respectively died than expected. At 15,000, the 2020 number of deaths is significantly higher.
According to the CBS, more long-term care patients, men, and elderly people died. These deaths peaked in the spring, during the first COVID-19 wave. There were also more deaths than expected at other times in the year – specifically during the heatwave and the second coronavirus wave.
The GGDs’ financial cost
Last year, these three Brabant regional health departments spent €120 million trying to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Most of the money went to external staff hire and laboratory work. This is according to the most recent figures seen by Omroep Brabant.
GGD Brabant-Zuidoost hired 300 additional employees. They carried out COVID-19 tests and track-and-tracing. They appointed another 40 people to coordinate and support these activities.
That will cost this health department €8.5 million. They also paid €600.000 in overtime when the first wave hit earlier last year. This GGD spent €26 million on laboratory tests. In this region alone, it is estimated that in 2020, this health department did 400.000 COVID-19 tests. It costs €65 per test for analysis.
Despite the vast expenditure, these health departments didn’t end up in the red. The Ministry of Public Health and the National Health Department have promised to pay for all these extra costs. So, the councils who finance these regional health departments don’t have to bear the brunt immediately.
Translator: Melinda Walraven