COVID-19 Surveillance Reports

COVID-19 Surveillance Bulletin

The COVID-19 Surveillance Bulletin describes COVID-19 activity in Northern Ireland and is produced Monday to Friday by the PHA.

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a type of virus called Sars-CoV-2 (coronavirus).

The Public Health Agency Health Protection surveillance team has established surveillance systems which are used to monitor COVID-19 activity in Northern Ireland. The systems allow us to monitor trends, inform public health measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission, and to measure the impact of public health measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission in both hospital and community settings. 

As this is an emerging pandemic the systems used will constantly evolve and the complexity of the analysis will increase. All updates will be documented here.

The current surveillance systems include:

1. Virology laboratory reports of COVID-19 test results
Currently, COVID-19 testing is performed in patients who:


  • have either clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • influenza like illness (fever ≥37.8°C and at least one of the following respiratory symptoms, which must be of acute onset: persistent cough (with or without sputum), hoarseness, nasal discharge or congestion, shortness of breath, sore throat, wheezing, sneezing)
  • Data source: laboratory reports from Regional Virus Laboratory, NHSCT (testing started 23/03/2020) and SHSCT (testing started 28/03/2020)
  • Reporting frequency: Laboratory data is submitted to PHA twice daily
  • Reporting period: Data is extracted at 0915 every morning and reflects the previous 24 hour period
  • Analysis: Testing summary (including positivity percentage), age and sex breakdown, mapping


2. Clinician reported deaths

  • Case definition: Patients who have died within 28 days of first positive test result, whether or not COVID-19 was the cause of death
  • Data source: clinician reports from HSC Trusts, Regional Virus Laboratory and local laboratory reports
  • Reporting frequency: Daily
  • Reporting period: 09.30 am (individuals who have been reported in the previous 24 hours)
  • Analysis: currently number of COVID-19 associated deaths per day



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