Published by Public Health Scotland, 27th April 2023, is the weekly national respiratory and Covid-19 surveillance report.
Public Health Scotland (PHS) monitor a number of key indicators to assess the impact of COVID-19, including demands on the health system.
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
Samples from every health board area 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.
The last sample from Orkney (Kirkwall) was published on 6th April 2023.
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 23 April 2023,
there were 1,003 reported positive COVID-19 cases (compared to 1,489 in week ending 16 April 2023).
Changes in PCR testing guidance has reduced the numbers of tests available for sequencing compared to earlier in the pandemic, though in the previous 6 months numbers have been relatively stable, ranging from 326 sequences per week to 825 sequences per week.
Omicron BQ.1 (a sub-lineage of BA.5) was the predominant variant in Scotland up until week beginning 16 January 2023, when it accounted for 55% (n=179) of sequences.
In recent weeks, cases of XBB (a sub-lineage of BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75) have increased, from 12 (3%) in week beginning 13 February 2023 to 126 (24%) at the most recent time point.
It is important to monitor COVID-19 hospital admissions as it is a measure of severe disease and captures pressures facing NHS hospitals.
In the latest week ending 23 April 2023, there were 278 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 two NHS Health Boards, and the previous week’s figures have been rolled forward.
There were 28 COVID-19 admissions (2.8%) per 1,000 emergency admissions. In the same week, the 80+ age group had the highest rate of COVID-19 admissions (4.9%) 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 937 patients in hospital with COVID-19 which is a 16.5% decrease from the previous week ending 16 April 2023, when on average there were 1,122 patients.
There were 10 new admissions to ICU, a decrease of 6 from the previous week (16 April 2023) when there were 16 admissions.