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About this publication
From week 23 onwards, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) publishes a summary report every two weeks for COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory infections. The report is less comprehensive than before and now consists of selected tables and figures of the most important indicators for following the epidemic in Norway.
The NIPH has chosen to reduce the level of detail in the weekly report but is following the situation closely.
Summary and assessment for week 37 and 38
- The spread of infection for COVID-19 has been decreasing over time. An overall assessment of monitoring data shows a slightly decreasing or flat trend.
- The situation is unpredictable. It is possible that the COVID-19 epidemic will grow again throughout the late autumn and winter. Beyond the winter, any new varieties with increased infectivity can cause new waves. The health institutions must be prepared for more admissions, for outbreaks and for major sickness absence.
- The municipalities now offer a booster dose (fourth dose) to nursing home residents, everyone aged 65 or older and risk groups aged 18-64. The rest of society, including nurseries, schools, colleges and universities, can continue with normal everyday life without special measures against COVID-19.
- As of now, there are no SARS-CoV-2 virus variants threatening the situation. But variants of interest and variants under special surveillance are constantly being discovered and are slightly increasing.
Serious illness from COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory infections
- Hospital admissions with COVID-19: The number of new patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 as the main cause has been relatively stable in recent weeks. For the time being, 86 new patients have been reported in week 38 and in week 37, after 104 in week 36. Figures for the last week are expected to be adjusted upwards.
- Hospital admissions with influenza: 5 new admissions with influenza were registered in week 38, after <5 in week 37 and 6 in week 36.
- Hospital admissions with respiratory tract infections: The number of admissions with respiratory tract infections has been relatively stable over the past three weeks. In week 37, 998 admissions have so far been registered, after 1,091 and 1,085 respectively in weeks 36 and 35. The figures, especially for the last week, are expected to be adjusted upwards.
- Hospital admissions with COVID-19: The number of new patients admitted to the intensive care unit has been relatively stable over the past 4 weeks. So far 6 new patients have been reported admitted in week 38, after 10 per week in the previous three weeks. The number of new patients admitted to the intensive care unit last week is expected to be adjusted upwards.
- COVID-19 deaths: The number of weekly deaths has been relatively stable for the past four weeks, but there is a possibility that the figure for last week will be adjusted upwards. There are currently 22 COVID-19-related deaths registered in week 38 and 22 in week 37.
- Excess mortality: The total mortality for the last few weeks in Norway currently appears to be at a normal level. In 2022, it is currently estimated that there will be more deaths than expected in weeks 25, 27, 28 and 29 in the population of Norway as a whole and for the age group 65 years.
Prevalence of COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory tract infections
- Respiratory symptoms in the population: Data from the population survey Symptommeter show that the proportion of participants who state having cold symptoms has been stable in weeks 37 and 38. The proportion who have tested themselves and and the proportion who state a positive test result for coronavirus has also been relatively stable since week 33.
- Wastewater monitoring: Results from analyses of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater in selected urban municipalities and the Gardermoen area, comprising approx. 30% of the population in Norway, indicate a slight downward trend until week 37, with a slight increase in the last week.
- Medical consultations: The proportion of consultations at a doctor's office/emergency room for confirmed COVID-19 has been decreasing since week 29, with a gradual flattening from week 33.
- Outbreaks in healthcare facilities: The number of reported outbreaks has been relatively stable over time, at 7 in both weeks 38 and 37.
- Testing for SARS-CoV-2: The number of people tested with a PCR/rapid antigen test at a testing station or doctor's office has decreased since week 25, and remained fairly stable since week 32.
- Reported cases of COVID-19: There has been a decrease in the number of reported cases to MSIS since week 25.
- Influenza: The incidence of influenza is stable and very low. After a peak with influenza A(H3N2) in week 14, with a positive proportion among those tested of around 21% nationally, the proportion of influenza virus positives has been below 1.5% since week 24.
- Respiratory agents other than influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2: The level of other detected respiratory agents has been stable over the past two weeks, with the proportion of positive analyzes at 4% in weeks 37 and 38. The incidence of rhinovirus is at a high level, but now appears to be decreasing, with a proportion of positive analyses of 23% in week 38, after 28% in week 37.
Vaccination against COVID-19
- As of 25th September, 61% in the age group 75 years and older and 40% among people aged 65-74 have been vaccinated with the 4th dose.
- The omicron variant BA.5 dominates in Norway and accounts for over 95% of the cases analysed. As of now, there are no virus variants that appear to be taking over for BA.5, but virus variants with changed immunological properties have had a certain rise in some countries in Europe. We see an increase with viruses with the additional mutation R346T in the spike protein.
- Mathematical modeling indicates that the infection trend is decreasing with an average reproduction number of 0.9 (0.8 – 1.0) since 11th August.