Published on 20th April 2023 was the Weekly national respiratory infection and COVID-19 statistical report from Public Health Scotland.
As yet, SARS-CoV-2 has not been shown to follow the same seasonal patterns as other respiratory pathogens. Increases in infections outside the winter season may be occurring for a variety of reasons, including the emergence of new variants and time-varying fluctuations in population immunity associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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) published their final COVID-19 Infection Survey report on 24 March 2023. Therefore, COVID-19 surveillance will use a range of indicators including wastewater concentration levels, reported COVID-19 cases (PCR/LFD) and hospital activity.
Waste Water Monitoring – In May SEPA 2020 began exploratory work to pinpoint fragments of coronavirus’ ribonucleic acid (RNA) in local waste water samples with the backing of Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland (PHS), alongside Scottish Water, CREW (Centre of expertise for Waters) and academic partners from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Heriot Watt University.
The latest samples published for Orkney (Kirkwall) was sampled on 6th of April and shows a positive count but decreasing.
Testing – The purpose of COVID-19 testing has now shifted from population-wide testing to reduce transmission, to targeted, symptomatic testing in clinical care settings which has led to a reduction in the quantity and quality of available testing data. This makes it difficult to draw any conclusions from these data on community prevalence and caution is therefore advised when making comparisons between metrics and comparing trends over time.
In the week ending 16 April 2023, there were 1,457 reported positive COVID-19 cases (compared to 1,666 in week ending 09 April 2023).
Hospitalisation – In the latest week ending 16 April 2023, there were 332 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 31 COVID-19 admissions (3.1%) per 1,000 emergency admissions. In the same week, the 80+ age group had the highest rate of COVID-19 admissions (5.7%) and the 18- 29 age group had the lowest rate (0.3%).
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.
There were 1,122 patients in hospital with COVID-19 which is a 6.7% decrease from the previous week ending 09 April 2023, when on average there were 1,203 patients.
There were 14 new admissions to ICU, a decrease of 5 from the previous week (09 April 2023) when there were 19 admissions.
See also: Employment Up, but People Economically Inactive Also Up
The COVID-19 pandemic has direct impacts on health as a result of illness, hospitalisations and deaths due to COVID-19. However, the pandemic also has wider impacts on health, healthcare, and health inequalities. Reasons for this may include:
- Individuals being reluctant to use health services because they do not want to burden the NHS or are anxious about the risk of infection.
- The health service delaying preventative and non-urgent care such as some screening services and planned surgery.
- Other indirect effects of interventions to control COVID-19, such as changes to employment and income, changes in access to education, social isolation, family violence and abuse, changes in the accessibility and use of food, alcohol, drugs and gambling, or changes in physical activity and transport patterns.
- More detailed background information on these potential impacts is provided by the Scottish Public Health Observatory in a section on COVID-19 Wider Impact
The templates may help to make healthcare settings safer so that they can be attended without so much anxiety: https://covidpledge.uk/campaign-for-safe-healthcare