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Weekly reports for COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory tract infections

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Here you will find weekly reports on coronavirus, influenza and other respiratory tract infections in Norway. The summary is translated to English below.

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Here you will find weekly reports on coronavirus, influenza and other respiratory tract infections in Norway. The summary is translated to English below.


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About this publication

  • Year: 2020/2021/2022/2023
  • By: Norwegian Institute of Public Health

From Thursday 27th October 2022, publication of the weekly report for coronavirus and COVID-19 will move to Thursdays and will be combined with the weekly report for influenza. It will then be published every other Thursday until more frequent updates become necessary.

Since week 23 in 2022, the NIPH has reduced the detail level in the weekly reports on coronavirus and COVID-19, both due to a quieter pandemic phase and the resources required to compile the report. We will include extra figures if they are required, depending on future developments in the pandemic.

Summary week 4

Assessment

  • The incidence of respiratory infections in the population has decreased significantly in January. In the first weeks of the year, there has been a large decrease in the number of new hospitalisations with COVID-19, influenza and RS virus infection. The decrease in the number of hospitalisations due to RSV and influenza has stopped. The further development is uncertain.
  • The COVID-19 wave is over but there will still be some spread of infection, and a new wave could strike later this winter or spring. The numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 hospitalisations have decreased sharply over the last weeks.
  • The influenza epidemic has quickly subsided in January, with large differences in incidence between counties. In week 4, new hospital admissions and the proportion of positive test results have increased slightly, so that we see a flattening or a slight increase. The number of confirmed cases is still falling, and it is uncertain whether we will see a new increase in the influenza epidemic. Influenzavirus A(H1N1) still dominates in the country as a whole, but other viruses are also in circulation, and influenza B has had a slight increase.
  • The RSV infection epidemic is still ongoing and further development is uncertain. Most hospital admissions are still among children under the age of five.
  • Mortality: Calculations made by NIPH show a continuing excess mortality in the population compared to the years 2010–2019. This excess mortality occurs in the older age groups and coincides with a high number of deaths associated with respiratory tract infections in December and January. Both the overall mortality rate and deaths associated with respiratory tract infections have decreased in the last weeks.
  • Hospitals and municipalities must still be prepared for more disease, high rates of sick leave, high numbers of hospital admissions and outbreaks in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • It is not too late to be vaccinated. The population is advised to follow vaccination recommendations. See the NIPH website for recommendations: COVID-19 vaccine and influenza vaccine.
  • The population is advised to stay at home when sick with respiratory symptoms. If you still need to go to crowded indoor areas (e.g. shops or public transport) or visit someone in a risk group indoors, you should use a face mask. People in risk groups socialising indoors should consider wearing a mask. Everyone is asked to remember good hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Otherwise, society can continue with normal everyday life. See Infection control advice for the population.
  • Antiviral treatment can reduce the risk of a severe disease course. People at particular risk can, together with their doctor, assess the need for antiviral treatment for COVID-19 and influenza as early as possible in the course of the disease. Hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies should normally have antiviral drugs available during the winter season. Read more about the use of antiviral medicine against COVID-19 and influenza (Norwegian).

Respiratory tract infections combined

The extent of respiratory infections in the population is now considerably less than a few weeks ago. There has been a sharp decline in respiratory symptoms in the population and consultations for these symptoms, but there are signs of levelling off in the last week. The number of new admissions with respiratory infections has decreased rapidly from a peak in week 52 of 2,991 admissions to 1,230 admissions in week 3. Admissions with respiratory infections are in week 3 on the same level as in the last pre-pandemic winter seasons. The three epidemics of covid-19, influenza and RSV infection still dominate the picture with respiratory infections. The other cold viruses included in the monitoring are at a low level.

COVID-19

This winter’s COVID-19 wave is over. Almost all indicators show signs of decline; wastewater monitoring, the proportion of people who test positive for coronavirus in the population (Symptometer), the proportion of consultations with doctors and emergency rooms, cases reported to MSIS, the number of outbreaks in health facilities and the number of cases with a serious course.

In week 4, there were 57 new hospitalisations with COVID-19 as the main cause after 77 in week 3. The number of new hospitalisations with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 (where it is not stated whether COVID-19 was the reason for admission) was 168 in week 4 after 171 week 3. The number of new admissions to intensive care units was 3 in week 4 after 9 in week 3. Last week there was also a clear decrease in the number of COVID-19-associated deaths with 24 in week 4, after 47 in week 3. We expect that the number of new hospitalisations and COVID-19-associated deaths will be adjusted upwards somewhat, especially for the last week.

The virological landscape is complex, with the diversity of viruses still increasing. There is otherwise little change in prevalence for the most common virus variants in recent weeks, which reflects the decreasing infection situation. BQ.1.1 is still the most frequently occurring single variant and generally there is an increase in BA.2.75 subvariants and recombinants.

As of 29 January, 73% in the age group 75 years and older and 60% among people aged 65-74 have been vaccinated with the 4th dose against COVID-19.

Influenza

The influenza outbreak started somewhat earlier than usual, and quickly rose to a high level that lasted through Christmas. In weeks 1-3, there was a rapid decline in the incidence of influenza, but a flattening or slight increase can be seen in the last week. Future developments are uncertain. There are large geographical differences in flu activity at the moment, highest in Agder and Rogaland, while Troms and Finnmark appear to be coming to the end of a local flu outbreak.

The proportion of doctor consultations for influenza has been relatively stable from 1.3% in week 3 to 1.2% in week 4, while the proportion who had the influenza virus detected among those who had a sample taken decreased from 25% in week 52 to 13% in week 3 and 14% in week 4. There are currently 232 new hospitalisations with influenza registered in week 4, slightly up from 205 in week 3. In week 4, there are currently 5 hospitalisations with influenza in intensive care units, after 8 in week 3.

RS virus infections

The epidemic of RSV infections shows a stable trend in the last week. After a peak of 284 new admissions with RSV infection in week 52, the number of new admissions was 187 in week 3 and 189 in week 4. The level of admissions is still highest among children 0-4 years. The proportion of positive analyses for RS virus has remained relatively stable since Christmas. In week 4, it was 13.3%, after 14.1% in week 3. In the age group 0-4 years, the proportion of positives was 40.4% in week 4 after 43.2% the week before. The further development of the epidemic is uncertain.

 

More information: Coronavirus modelling at the NIPH

1. 2023

2. Alle ukerapporter 2022

3. Alle ukerapporter 2021

4. Andre halvår 2020

5. Første halvår 2020

25.02.2021: New version of the report due to a change in the date from 17.2 to 21.2

23.6.2020: Ny versjon av ukerapport for uke 23 publisert (versjon 3), pga feil figur 12. Ny figur lagt inn.

10.6.2020: Ukerapport for uke 23. feil prosent angitt i avsnittet på side 13. Versjon 2 av rapporten publisert.