In the Infection Radar survey, last week, the percentage of participants with COVID-19 like complaints remained stable (4.3%) as compared to the week before (4.2%). The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) reported to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) decreased slightly (-5%) last week compared to the week before that.
The number of people who were tested for COVID-19 by the GGD also decreased slightly (-12%). The number of nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID-19 increased last week (+13%).
On 15 November 2022, the reproduction number based on reported positive tests was 0.92 (0.79 – 1.06). The number of new hospital admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 increased slightly (+8%) compared to the week before. The number of new ICU admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 also increased. There were 30 ICU admissions last week (+67%), compared to 18 ICU admissions the week before.
According to the RIVM updates, last week 5,155 people reported positive corona test results as compared to 5,417 people, the week before. There were 324 persons newly hospitalised as compared to 300, the week before. The COVID-19 related mortality number decreased to 9, as compared to 15, the week before.
In week 46 (14 – 20 November 2022), sewage surveillance showed that the national average viral load increased by 28%. Viral loads were highest in Limburg-Zuid and Amsterdam-Amstelland. In the first half of week 47 (21 – 23 November), the average viral load continued to decrease slightly (at least for now), dropping 8%. Viral loads were highest in Kennemerland and Limburg-Zuid. Once again, the Omicron BA.5 variant and its sub-variants were detected most frequently in sewage surveillance: mainly BF.7 and BQ.1. More recombinants and BA.2 variants were also detected, particularly sub-variants of BA.2.75.
Virus variants from pathogen surveillance
Since early 2022, RIVM has mainly observed many different sub-variants that belong to the Omicron family, specifically sub-variants BA.1 through BA.5, in the context of pathogen surveillance. Mutations are also emerging within these sub-variants. The same pattern is occurring in other countries as well.
Since June 2022, BA.5 has been responsible for the highest number of infections in the Netherlands. An increase in BA.4.6, BA.2.75 and BF.7 had already been observed over the past few weeks. More recently, the percentage of sub-variant BQ.1, including BQ.1.1, has been growing significantly. A recombinant (a variant that combines properties of various Omicron sub-variants) named XBB is also increasing. At this time, there are no indications that these sub-variants would be more likely to cause severe illness compared to previous Omicron sub-variants.
The latest calculations suggest that BQ.1 may soon become dominant in the Netherlands. These estimates always have some margin of uncertainty. It is also possible that multiple variants, including BQ.1 and XBB, will continue circulating at the same time. New variants or sub-variants may also emerge.
Translated: Yawar Abbas