DoH comment on COVID-19 infection levels

Date published: 06 January 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a long shadow over our health service and wider society in Northern Ireland.

Both COVID-19 and flu are among the factors contributing to the extreme and ongoing pressures on health and social care.

The latest COVID-19 Infection Survey results, published today, indicate a significant increase in COVID-19 infections in the community in December.

Management information from hospitals indicates a large increase in the number of inpatients with confirmed COVID-19.

As of January 5, 2023, there were 374 in-patients with confirmed COVID-19 in hospitals here. That compares to 226 on December 5, 2022.

The 374 total represents 11% of occupied beds in Northern Ireland hospitals.

For a significant number of these patients, COVID-19 will not be the principal reason for their ill-health and hospitalisation.

However, infection with the virus can impact on patient condition and recovery, as well as the management of their care.

Anyone who is eligible for COVID-19 and flu vaccination and has not yet got their jabs is strongly encouraged to do so.

Winter Vaccine - Who is Eligible?

The potential for hospital acquired infection is heightened when COVID-19 rates increase in the community. This is another reason why timely discharge from hospital is important for patients who are medically fit to leave.

It is also vital to keep following public health advice on preventing the spread of all respiratory infections.

Anyone with symptoms of a respiratory infection and a high temperature should stay at home and should avoid contact with other people and must not visit others in health and social care settings.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Details of the latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) Infection Survey can be found on the Department website.
  2. Public Health Agency advice on respiratory illness can be found on the PHA website.
  3. Information on getting a Covid-19 and flu vaccinations is available on NI Direct.
  4. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email:
  5. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.
  6. 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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