Public Health Scotland has published its latest reports on respiratory conditions and Covid-19 as of 23rd March 2023.
The Orkney News has continued to publish public health information and data on Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Reliable statistics become harder to find as public organisations providing that information either no longer publish it or the lack of testing compromises the data received. Nevertheless as community media we have an obligation to keep the public informed as best we can from the information we can access. Links are provided as checks for the reader.
Changes in PCR testing guidance has reduced the numbers of tests available for sequencing compared to earlier in the pandemic.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will be pausing the COVID-19 Infection Survey data collection from mid-March and will publish their final publication on 24 March 2023. The ONS survey results are Scotland’s current best understanding of community population prevalence.
The ONS report published on 24th of March states:
“In Scotland, the estimated number of people testing positive for COVID-19 was 136,200 (95% credible interval: 91,000 to 190,400), equating to 2.59% of the population, or around 1 in 40 people.”
In England its was 1 in 40: in Wales 1 in 40 and in N. Ireland 1 in 70.
There are higher levels of uncertainty in these latest estimates because of lower numbers of samples received.
Waste water analysis also provides a way of looking at the prevalence of Covid in your community. Samples from every health board area in Scotland are tested for traces of non-infective Covid-19 ribonucleic acid (RNA) and shared with public health partners so they can see where rates are increasing or decreasing. RNA Monitoring Click on the map to find your area and whether or not positivity is increasing or decreasing.
Hospitalisation is yet another way at looking at how infection rates are affecting our services and the prevalence in our community.
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 latest week ending 19 March 2023, there were 437 new COVID-19 admissions to hospital.
There were 48 COVID-19 admissions (4.8%) per 1,000 emergency admissions. In the same week, the 75-79 age group had the highest rate of COVID-19 admissions (7.9%) and the 18-29 age group had the lowest rate (1.3%).
The average number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 recently peaked at the start of January 2023 and has been increasing again since the start of March 2023.
There were 1,131 patients in hospital with COVID-19 which is a 23.1% increase from the previous week ending 12 March 2023, when on average there were 919 patients.
The number of new ICU admissions has generally been increasing since February. For the week ending 19th March, there were 12 new admissions to ICU, a decrease of 3 from the previous week (12 March 2023) when there were 15 admissions.
The Office of National Statistics which report on the situation for the whole of the UK has reported in its most recent publication that Deaths involving COVID-19 increased in the UK. For deaths in Scotland click on this link: #Covid Related Deaths Weekly Update
The National Record of Scotland (NRS) has reported that there were almost 16,000 more deaths than births registered in Scotland in 2022: 62,942 deaths but only 46,959 births.
The figures for the last 3 months of 2022 record 16,856 deaths, 9.3% higher than the five-year average for that time of year. There were increases in the number of deaths across a range of causes including respiratory diseases which were 8.7% higher at 1,900. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the underlying cause of 353 deaths during this quarter. No deaths were registered where the underlying cause was the adverse effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Julie Ramsay, Vital Events Statistician at National Records of Scotland, said:
“The gap between deaths and births continues the period of negative natural change, where the number of deaths outnumbers the number of births, which began in 2015.
“Having fewer births than deaths in a population is referred to as ‘negative natural change’ meaning that without external factors such as migration, the population will fall.”
This week’s deaths also showed an excess across all categories : #Covid Related Deaths Weekly Update
Vaccination has been vital in reducing the severity of Covid. This spring in Scotland , COVID-19 booster vaccinations will be offered to those who are eligible:
- residents in care homes for older adults
- adults aged 75 years and over (or will turn 75 by 30 June 2023)
- people aged 5 years and over with a weakened immune system
This remains the advice in Scotland:
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:
- if you have symptoms of a virus, cold or flu, try to stay at home and avoid contact with others – if you do need to go out, wear a well-fitting face covering – read more about looking after yourself during the winter
- get your vaccines if offered to ensure you are fully protected
- follow the latest NHS guidance if you are feeling unwell – and know how to get the right care in the right place
- wear a face covering in indoor public places and on public transport
- socialise in well-ventilated spaces where possible
- wash your hands and clean surfaces regularly
- know where to get support for your mental health and money worries
We’d been thinking that the situation re. Covid has been pretty good in Orkney for some time, and thinking that we might consider going out for lunch – then, this morning, looked out the window to see the first of the liners moored off Kirkwall…
And thought of the holiday season beginning — the Festivals coming up – asked ourselves is it worth it? Decided – no, it isn’t. So we’ll eat at home or take sandwiches out with us, or get yummy things from ‘Julia’s Shed’ and Leigh’s van and – enjoy!