In the Infection Radar survey last week, the percentage of participants with COVID-19 like complaints slightly: 4.6%, as compared to the week before, 3.1%. The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 reported to the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) increased, +39%, compared to the week before.
The number of people who were tested for COVID-19 by the GGD also increased (+27%). On 13 September 2022, the reproduction number based on reported positive tests was 1.03 (0.96 – 1.11). The number of new hospital admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 increased significantly (+34%) 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 (-11%), compared to 18 ICU admissions the week before.
In sewage surveillance, the national average viral load in week 37 (12 – 18 September 2022) increased slightly by +0.3%. Compared to the other regions, sewage surveillance figures were highest in and around Amsterdam and in Limburg-Noord. A similar trend was observed in the first half of week 38 (19–21 September), resulting in a minor increase (+6.3%). Sewage surveillance figures were highest in IJsselland and Kennemerland. The BA.5 Omicron sub-variant is still detected most frequently in sewage surveillance.
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 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 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 to monitor the situation.
According to the RIVM updates, last week 12,269 persons reported positive corona test results and 333 persons newly hospitalised as compared to 8,820 and 249, respectively, the week before. Among the hospitalised patients, 16 were admitted to Intensive care units as compared to 18 patients the week before. The COVID-19 related mortality number decreased to 13 as compared to 10 deaths, the week before.
Translated: Yawar Abbas