In the Infection Radar survey last week, the percentage of participants with COVID-19 like complaints slightly increased, 2.4%, as compared to the week before, 1.9%. The number of people who were tested positive for COVID-19 reported to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) increased slightly, 6%, compared to the week before.
The number of people who were tested for COVID-19 by the GGD increased slightly (+6%). On 30 August 2022, the reproduction number based on reported positive tests was 1.04 (0.96 – 1.11). The number of new hospital admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 increased (+16%) compared to the week before. The number of new ICU admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 remained relatively low; there were 16 ICU admissions last week (+7%), compared to 15 ICU admissions the week before.
In sewage surveillance, the national average viral load in week 35 (29 August – 4 September 2022) increased slightly, rising by +4.4%. A significant increase was observed in Brabant-Zuidoost, which also saw the highest figures in sewage surveillance in that period. In the first half of week 36 (5 – 7 September), the average number of virus particles increased, rising by +29.1%. A significant increase was observed in Brabant-Noord, and the highest figures in sewage surveillance were seen in Gooi-en Vechtstreek. The BA.5 Omicron sub-variant is still observed most frequently, and various samples contained characteristic mutations that had previously been found in the Delta variant.
Virus variants from pathogen surveillance
So far, the Omicron variant has five sub-variants that are currently being monitored closely. These have been designated BA.1, BA.2 (including sub-variants BA.2.12.1 and BA.2.75), BA.3, BA.4 and BA.5.
According to the WHO, these variants do not appear to cause more serious illness than the BA.2 variant that was recently most prevalent in the Netherlands. However, there are indications that antibodies may be less effective against these variants.
Sub-variant BA.5 became dominant in the Netherlands in June 2022. The percentage of these and other variants is being monitored in the context of pathogen surveillance and by means of variant PCR.
Since July 2022, various countries have recently observed a new sub-variant of the Omicron BA.2 lineage: BA.2.75. This sub-variant has been found in India, Australia, Japan, Canada, the USA, Germany, Denmark and the UK, among other countries. BA.2.75 has been increasing recently in pathogen surveillance in the Netherlands. It is too early to say whether this will lead to an increase in the number of infections. BA.2.75 seems to have minor specific mutations that enable it to more easily evade the immunity built up against COVID-19 (by vaccination or previous infection). There are no indications that the BA.2.75 sub-variant would be more likely to cause severe illness compared to the other Omicron sub-variants. This sub-variant seems to be increasing slowly in the Netherlands and in the surrounding countries. RIVM will continue monitoring the situation.
According to the RIVM updates, last week 8,327 persons reported positive corona test results and 256 persons newly hospitalized as compared to 7,856 and 220, respectively, the week before. Among the hospitalized patients, 16 were admitted to Intensive care units as compared to 15 patients the week before. The COVID-19 related mortality number decreased to 11 as compared to 10 deaths, the week before.
Translated: Yawar Abbas