Weekly update of COVID situation – week 49

weekly covid update
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In the  Infection Radar survey, last week, the percentage of participants with COVID-19 like complaints increased (5.3%) as compared to the week before (4.3%). The number of Infection Radar participants who tested positive for COVID-19 remained stable (+1%) compared to the week before that.

The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) reported to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) increased slightly (+5%) last week compared to the week before that. The number of people who were tested for COVID-19 by the GGD stabilised last week (-1%). The number of nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID-19 increased last week (+19%).

On 22 November 2022, the reproduction number based on reported positive tests was 0.98 (0.83 – 1.13). The number of new hospital admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 was stable (+2%) compared to the week before. The number of new ICU admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 decreased.

Numbers

According to the RIVM updates, last week 5,432 persons reported positive corona test results as compared to 5,155 persons, week before. There were 330 persons newly hospitalised as compared to 324, the week before. There were 24 ICU admissions last week (-20%), compared to 30 ICU admissions the week before. The COVID-19 related mortality number increased to 17, as compared to 9, the week before.

Sewage surveillance

In week 47 (21 – 27 November 2022), sewage surveillance showed that the national average viral load increased slightly, rising by 4.7%. In that week, the highest figures were seen in the Kennemerland region. In the first half of week 48 (28 November – 1 December), the average viral load increased slightly, rising by 4.7%. Viral loads were highest in Limburg-Zuid and Amsterdam-Amstelland. Once again, the Omicron BA.5 variant and its sub-variants were detected most frequently in sewage surveillance: mainly BQ.1. More recombinants (variants that combine properties of multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants) and Omicron BA.2 sub-variants were also detected, particularly BA.2.75 and its sub-variants.

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. More recently, the percentage of sub-variant BQ.1, including BQ.1.1, has been growing. Recombinant XBB (a variant that combines properties of various Omicron sub-variants) 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.

Source: RIVM.nl
Translated: Yawar Abbas

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