Investigating spatio-temporal drivers in COVID-19 hospital incidence [Dellicour et al. 2021]

International Journal of Health Geographics published recent research of Dellicour and colleagues on spatio-temporal differences in COVID-19 hospital incidence in Belgium between March and November 2020. Using aggregated incidence data on the level of hospital catchment areas, Dellicour and colleagues investigated potential socio-demographic drivers of spatial heterogeneity (e.g., the share of elderly in the area, the share of urban areas), as well as several indicators relevant for the temporal heterogeneity (e.g., an index of human mobility, temperature). 

The results clearly show an important association between increased hospital incidence and a higher share of nursing home residents in the area, both in the first and second wave of the epidemic. Although the relative influence appears to be much smaller, hospital incidence also seems to be related to the proportion of urban areas and to the occupational composition of the area. The study further shows an association between human mobility when considering a lag time of 15 days, as well as with weather conditions. 

The full publication is available via: 



HELICON is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

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Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Health Information