COVID-19 Epidemiological Bulletin

COVID-19 Epidemiological Bulletin

This weekly report outlines the recent epidemiology of COVID-19 disease in Northern Ireland (NI), along with information about the genomic lineages (variants) of cases, detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater, the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes and excess deaths. It links to other sources of information about hospital admissions and COVID-19-related deaths. Further information will be added to this report over the coming weeks and months.

1 Summary

  • In the week ending 19 June 2022 (Week 24), the number of new infection episodes detected through clinical and routine testing was 4,703, an increase from 3,577 the previous week.

  • In the week to 18 June 2022, the Office for National Statistics estimated the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 increased to 59,900 (95% credible interval: 46,900 to 74,400), equating to 3.26% of the population or around 1 in 30 people (increased from 1 in 45 people the previous week).

  • Wastewater surveillance detected an increased amount of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater in June 2022.

  • There have been increases in the numbers of infection episodes with the variants of concern, BA.4 and BA.5. The Office for National Statistics Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey indicates that together, BA.4 and BA.5 now account for more infections than BA.2 in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the UK.

  • BA.4 and BA.5 are transmitted in the same way as previous variants, and protective measures are the same. More information about how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available here.

2 Incidence and prevalence of COVID-19

2.1 Episodes of COVID-19

Infection episodes detected through clinical testing reveal only a small fraction of the true number of cases, because only a minority of people who have COVID-19 disease are tested. We continue to monitor these because an increase may indicate increasing incidence or severity. The number of new episodes is shown by week overall (Figure 2.1), as a rate per 100,000 population by age band over time (Figure 2.2), as a rate per 100,000 population by local government district for the most recent week in a bar plot (Figure 2.3) and over time in a heat map (Figure 2.4). Supplementary tables of key figures are shown at the end of this document. The number of new episodes increased in week 24, at 4,703 from 3,577 in week 23. All local government districts and all ages have had an increase in cases. Episode rates per 100,000 population were highest in 40-49 year-olds (359.1 per 100,000 population).

Weekly number of unique episodes of COVID-19, 2022

Figure 2.1: Weekly number of unique episodes of COVID-19, 2022