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 modelled positivity estimates for Northern I for the week up to the 15 November 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).
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.
- During the most recent week of the study (9 – 15 November 2022), it is estimated that 34,100 people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 25,500 to 44,300).
- This equates to 1.86% of the population (95% credible interval: 1.39% to 2.42%), no change from the 1.86% in the previous week, or around 1 in 55 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 70 to 1 in 40).
- Modelling suggests the percentage testing positive decreased in the two weeks up to 15 November 2022 in Northern Ireland, but the trend was uncertain in the most recent week.
- The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 decreased in those aged 60 years and over in recent weeks, and the trend was uncertain in younger adults and children.
Currently, the variants under surveillance in the UK are:
Omicron, including sub-lineages BA.1, BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5, and their sub-lineages.
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, most COVID-19 infections in the UK have been Omicron variant BA.5 or its sub-lineages. One of these BA.5 sub-lineages, BQ.1, has been increasing considerably in recent weeks. In the week ending 6 November 2022, BQ.1 comprised 37.2% of all sequenced COVID-19 infections, an increase from 29.8% in the previous week. In the same week, other BA.5 variants (and sub-lineages, excluding BQ.1) comprised 45.8% of all sequenced COVID-19 infections, a decrease from 53.6% in the previous week. A small recent increase in the percentage of infections with BA.2 sub-lineages has also been observed. Notably, BA.2.75 and its sub-lineages comprised 13.0% of sequenced infections in the week ending 6 November 2022, with the sub-lineage XBB comprising 2.5% of sequenced infections. In the same week BA.4 sub-lineages comprised 3.2% of sequenced infections.
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 8th 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Further information about quality and methodology associated with the survey can be found on the ONS website.
- This publication is available online.
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