#Covid & #Flu Weekly Update

Published by Public Health Scotland on 23rd February 2023 is the weekly update.


  • In Scotland, in the week ending 07 February 2023, the estimated number of people testing positive for COVID-19 was 96,500 (95% credible interval: 80,300 to 114,700), equating to 1.83% of the population, or around 1 in 55 people (Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK – Office for National Statistics)
  • There were on average 715 patients in hospital with COVID-19, a 1.9% increase from the previous week ending 12 February 2023 (702)
  • As part of the Winter 2022 vaccination programme 1,988,003 people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and 1,933,563 adults have been vaccinated for influenza

Waste water Monitoring , Kirkwall, Positive

In the latest week ending 19 February 2023, there were 226 new COVID-19 admissions to hospital. Hospital admissions for the most recent week are provisional and should be treated with caution. At the time of publication there were no data available for one NHS Health Board, and the previous week’s figures have been rolled forward.

There were 21 COVID-19 admissions (2.1%) per 1,000 emergency admissions. In the same week, the 80+ age group had the highest rate of COVID-19 admissions (3.7%) and the 30-39 age group had the lowest rate (0.7%).

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital is an indicative measure of the pressure on hospitals, as these patients still require isolation from other patients for infection control purposes.

In the most recent week ending 19 February 2023, on average there were 715 patients in hospital with COVID-19 which is a 1.9% increase from the previous week ending 12 February 2023, when on average there were 702 patients.

There were 10 new admissions to ICU, a decrease of 2 from the previous week (12 February 2023) when there were 12


Influenza decreased to Baseline activity level (1.1 per 100,000 population). There were 62 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases: 22 type A (not subtyped), eight A(H3), and 32 type B. This compares to 109 laboratory-confirmed cases reported during week 06.

The proportion of NHS24 calls that were for respiratory symptoms remained at Baseline activity level.

NHS Orkney remained at Moderate activity level.

There were 44 influenza related emergency hospital admissions, corresponding to an admission rate of 0.8 per 100,000. This is a decline from the peak of 24.4 per 100,000 observed in week 51. There were two adult ICU/HDU admissions with laboratory confirmed influenza.

All Covid rules and restrictions have been lifted in Scotland, but the virus has not gone away. COVID-19, colds and flu can spread more easily in the winter. 

To protect yourself and keep others safe:

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  1. ‘… as these patients still require isolation from other patients for infection control purposes’
    They most certainly do require to be isolated; from a perspective of individual health as well as public health.
    But since patients are no longer routinely tested on admission, chances are that this isolation often does not take place and infected patients can pass on the infection to others who might be vulnerable or even very vulnerable.
    The since 2022 high levels of hospital acquired infections are a clear indicator, that scaling back IPC controls and measures in hospital settings was not sensible.


    Over the course of the pandemic, so far (up to 29th January 2023) 19,422 patients have acquired a Covid infection in Scottish hospitals (26 patients in Orkney which I find quite shocking because it should be much more easy to implement and stick to reasonable IPC measures in such a small island hospital). In my personal opinion, the majority of these nosocomial infections could have been avoided.
    This figure includes the so-called “probable cases” because the definition is still based on the longer incubation periods seen with the wild type of the virus, hence since the arrival of variants with a shorter incubation period, probable cases are likely to be definite cases.
    This means that 19,422 Scottish hospital patients (plus an unknown number of untested) came out of hospital with more than they bargained for.

    How many of those are battling long-term consequences?
    How many of them experienced a fatal outcome or will do so due to an infection following health condition (i.e. cardiovascular)?

    Unfortunately, our Scottish statistics do not tell us (some other countries do).
    It does not come as a surprise that many, particularly vulnerable groups, cancer patients and other immuno-compromised people, remain reluctant to seek hospital treatment and rather delay: but these decisions could come with other risks.
    One should not have to weigh the options of risks this way and ask such “lesser evil” questions.

    I can only hope that – finally!!! – some lessons will be learned how to deal better with a pandemic. The next one might not be far away… independently whether it might be the H5N1 influenza which seems to increase its efforts to adapt to mammals or any other nasty pathogen.

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