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 NI for the week up to the 14 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).
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 (8 July– 14 July 2022), it is estimated that 88,400 people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 63,100 to 117,500).
- This equates to 4.82% of the population (95% credible interval: 3.44% to 6.40%) or around 1 in 20 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 30 to 1 in 16).
- Modelling suggests the trend in the percentage of people testing positive was uncertain in the week ending 14 July in Northern Ireland.
- In the latest six-week period, there were 9,013 swab tests taken in total from 8,645 participants. Of these, 372 participants tested positive from 300 different households.
- In the latest two-week period, of the 1,626 participants in the study, 85 tested positive from 72 households.
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 have been Omicron variants BA.4 or BA.5 in all UK countries, comprising of 89.1% of all sequenced COVID-19 infections in the week ending 3 July 2022.
The Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 have changes in one of the three genes that the coronavirus survey swab test detects, which means the S-gene is no longer detected. When there is a high viral load (for example, when a person is most infectious), not detecting the S-gene in combination with detecting the other two genes (ORF1ab and N-genes) is a reliable indicator of the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. However, as the viral load decreases (for example, if someone is near the end of their recovery from the infection), not detecting the S-gene is a less reliable indicator of these Omicron variants. The Omicron variant BA.2 does not have changes in the S gene, and therefore all three genes, or the S-gene and either ORF1ab or N, will usually be detected in infections with this variant.
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:
- 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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