Coronavirus (Covid-19) Infection Survey Northern Ireland – 3 October -16 October 2020

Date published: 23 October 2020

The Department of Health today published the next in the series of weekly results from its COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS).

The findings set out in this report relate to the most recent 2 weeks of the study up to the 16 October 2020. Further analyses will be added to subsequent reports over the coming weeks. The aims of the CIS are to estimate how many people have the infection and the number of new cases that occur over a given time as well as estimating how many people have developed antibodies to COVID-19.

The survey over time will help track the extent of infection and transmission of COVID-19 among people in the community population (those in private residences).

Key Findings:

Due to the relatively small number of tests and positive swab results within our sample, confidence intervals are wide and therefore results should be interpreted with caution. While the confidence intervals do not overlap between the two most recent 14-day periods examined (see Table 1), which may suggest an increase in rate, it is too early to say that this constitutes a trend.

  • During the most recent 2 weeks of the study (3 to 16 October) it was estimated that 1.01% of people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19 (95% confidence interval: 0.64% – 1.50%). This equates to around 1 in 100 people (95% confidence interval: 1 in 160 to 1 in 70).
  • In the last 6 weeks, of the 7,515 participants included in this analysis, 39 tested positive from 34 households.
  • In the last 2 weeks, of the 2,932 participants included in this analysis, 28 tested positive from 24 households.

Table 1 - Overall number of COVID-19 infections by non-overlapping 14 day periods (weighted), Northern Ireland



Positivity rate (weighted)



% testing positive for COVID-19

95% confidence interval

14-day non-overlapping periods:



08 August 2020

21 August 2020




22 August 2020

04 September 2020




05 September 2020

18 September 2020




19 September 2020

02 October 2020




03 October 2020

16 October 2020




Notes to editors: 

  1. The Department of Health has been working along with the Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and the Office for National Statistics (and its various survey partners) to extend the COVID-19 Infection Survey to Northern Ireland. Fieldwork in Northern Ireland began on 27 July 2020. This publication presents the most recent results for NI from the survey.
  2. All results are provisional and subject to revision. Due to relatively small number of tests and positive swab tests within the sample, confidence intervals are wide and therefore results should be interpreted with caution.
  3. These statistics refer to infections reported in the community (i.e. private households). These figures exclude infections reported in hospitals, care homes and/or other institutional settings.
  4. Estimates of the total national proportion of the population testing positive for COVID-19 are weighted to be representative of the population of Northern Ireland that live in private-residential households in terms of age (grouped), sex, region, and household size.
  5. Weekly reports are to be published with findings from the COVID-19 Infection survey. It is anticipated that new and further analyses will be added to the weekly reports over time.
  6. Further information about quality and methodology associated with the survey can be found on the ONS website.
  7. This publication is available on the Department's website.
  8. Additional information is available from:

Information Analysis Directorate
Department of Health
Annex 2, Castle Buildings
Belfast BT4 3SQ

Telephone: 028 9052 2340


9. For media queries please contact DoH Press Office by email:

10. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.

11. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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