Coronavirus (Covid-19) Infection Survey, Northern Ireland: Weekly Report

Date published: 05 August 2022

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

doh latest statistics

The findings set out in this report relate to modelled positivity estimates for NI for the week up to the 25 July 2022. 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 residential households).

Key Findings

Due to the relatively small number of tests and positive swab results within our sample, credible intervals are wide and therefore results should be interpreted with caution; additionally, uncertainly is higher than usual due to reduced sample sizes during the transition to CIS digital. Results from this new methodology will be disseminated for the first time in our bulletin on Friday 19 August 2022. To enable final checks to be carried out, there will be a pause to the dissemination of our weekly bulletin on Friday 12 August 2022. Further information on CIS digital can be found in the recent ONS blog post.

  • During the most recent week of the study (19 July – 25 July 2022), it is estimated that 109,800 people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 83,500 to 138,300).
  • This equates to 5.98% of the population (95% credible interval: 4.55% to 7.54%) or around 1 in 17 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 20 to 1 in 13).
  • Modelling suggests the trend in the percentage of people testing positive remained uncertain in the week ending 25 July in Northern Ireland.
  • In the latest six-week period, there were 7,438 swab tests taken in total from 7,274 participants. Of these, 379 participants tested positive from 301 different households.
  • In the latest two-week period, of the 1,397 participants in the study, 91 tested positive from 73 households.

Variant analysis

The World Health Organization (WHO) have defined names for variants of concern.

Currently, the variants under surveillance in the UK are:

  • Omicron, including sublineages BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4 and BA.5

The Cycle threshold (Ct) value reflects the quantity of virus (also known as viral load) found in a swab test. A lower Ct value indicates a higher viral load. The latest Ct values of coronavirus (COVID-19) positive tests, as well as analysis of the genetic lineages of coronavirus seen in the samples that are sequenced, are provided in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: technical dataset.

Since the end of June 2022, the majority of COVID-19 infections in the UK have been Omicron variants BA.4 or BA.5, with BA.5 comprising 79.4% and BA.4 comprising 16.2% of all sequenced COVID-19 infections in the week ending 17 July 2022.

More information on how variants from positive tests on the survey are measured can be found in the ONS Understanding COVID-19 Variants blog and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey methods article.

The last published main variant analysis was included in COVID-19 Infection Survey, Northern Ireland: Weekly Report 8 July 2022. This showed a very high proportion of infections compatible with the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, so a breakdown of infections by variants is not included in this release. Infections by variant will continued to be monitored and analysis will be reintroduced when considered helpful.

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.
  2. All results are provisional and subject to revision. Due to relatively small number of tests and positive swab tests within the sample, credible 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 communal establishments.
  4. Estimates of the total national proportion of the population testing positive for COVID-19 are adjusted to be representative of the population of Northern Ireland that live in private residential households in terms of age, sex and region.
  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 online
  8. Additional information is available from:
    Information Analysis Directorate
    Department of Health
    Annex 2, Castle Buildings
    Stormont
    Belfast BT4 3SQ
    Telephone: 028 9052 2340     
    E-mail: statistics@health-ni.gov.uk
  9. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk.
  10. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
  11. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only 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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