In the Infection Radar survey last week, the percentage of people who reported possible symptoms of COVID-19 remained the same, -1.6%, as compared to the week before. The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 reported to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) decreased (-11%) compared to the week before. The number of people who were tested for COVID-19 by the GGD also decreased significantly (-17%).
On 15 August 2022, the reproduction number based on reported positive tests was 0.86 (0.81 – 0.92). The number of new hospital admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 decreased slightly (-8%) compared to the week before. The number of new ICU admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 remained relatively low; there were 20 ICU admissions last week (-26%).
In sewage surveillance result of week 33 (15 – 21 August), the national average virus load remained the same as compared to week 32. A similar trend was observed in the first half of week 34 (22 – 24 August). The average number of virus particles was highest in Amsterdam-Amstelland in week 33 and in Limburg-Noord in the first half of week 34. The BA.5 Omicron sub-variant is still observed most frequently.
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.
Since June 2022, Omicron BA.5 has been the dominant variant in the Netherlands (>90% of the tested samples since week 29). 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.
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. The next few weeks will show whether this upward trend will continue. 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 is 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 7,735 persons reported positive corona test results and 281 persons were newly hospitalsed as compared to 8,906 and 305, respectively, the week before. Among the hospitalised patients, 20 were admitted to Intensive care units as compared to 27 patients the week before. The COVID-19 related mortality number decreased to 12 as compared to 31 deaths, the week before.
Translated: Yawar Abbas