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Summary and assessment - week 2
- So far, 2,972 cases have been reported in week 2 (142 per 100,000 inhabitants for weeks 1 and 2 combined). This is a decrease of 36 % compared to week 1 when 4,645 cases were reported. Meanwhile, there has been a decrease in the number of people tested last week of 29 % compared to week 1 where a record number of people were tested. The proportion of positives among those tested decreased from 2.5 % in week 1 to 2.2 % in week 2.
- In the last four weeks, the number of new hospital admissions with COVID-19 as the main cause has been relatively stable (between 76 and 96). In week 2, there were 86 new hospitalised patients reported. Health South-East reported the highest number of new admissions per 100,000 in week 2 (2.1). There were 14 new admissions to the intensive care unit in week 2, a decrease from 24 in week 1. So far in week 2, there have been 28 deaths reported, a decrease from last week when 36 deaths were reported.
- Information on the country of infection is missing for between 52 and 69 % of the reported cases in the last three weeks. The figures are therefore uncertain and must be interpreted with caution. Where information is available, data indicate that the proportion of known infections abroad increased from 7 % in week 53 to 18 % in week 1 and was 16 % (150 of 918) in week 2. The most commonly reported country of infection was Poland.
- Mathematical modelling shows that after an increasing transmission in December with an average reproduction number of 1.07 (95 % CI 1.02 - 1.13), transmission has been declining since 4 January with an average reproduction number of 0.7 (95 % CI 0.3 - 1.0). We estimate that 65 % (95 % CI 56 % -75 %) of those who were infected in Norway in the last two weeks have been detected.
- So far, 33 cases of 501Y.V1 (UK variant) and 1 case of 501Y.V2 (South African variant) have been detected in Norway, all of which are direct import cases or close contacts to these. No variant cases have so far been detected by the general surveillance.
- A total of 49,245 people have received the 1st dose and a total of 5 people have received the 2nd dose of coronavirus vaccine as of 17 January. All counties are in the process of vaccination, and 355 municipalities have registered coronavirus vaccination in SYSVAK.
- Data from monitoring and modelling show a decrease in transmission last week, and there has been a fairly flat trend in the number of new admissions to hospital and intensive care units and deaths in recent weeks. Stricter infection control measures were introduced nationally in the first two weeks of 2021 to break the trend after an increased number of reported cases since December. The decline in reported cases last week may be a result of these measures. Surveillance data indicate that the number and proportion of people infected abroad has been higher in the last two weeks than in the previous weeks. This is probably due to entry after the Christmas and New Year period and the introduction of mandatory testing on arrival. There is still great geographical variation in occurrence around the country. It is important that the municipalities around the country maintain their good preparedness to quickly detect and control outbreaks locally and continue vaccination to protect nursing home residents, the elderly and selected groups of healthcare personnel.
Some main points from week 2
- During week 2, the number of reported cases decreased in all counties. Oslo has the highest incidence with 206 reported cases per 100,000 inhabitants for weeks 1 and 2 combined, followed by Viken (190) and Rogaland (162). Agder still has the lowest incidence with 51 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for weeks 1 and 2 combined. The number of people tested also decreased in all counties in week 2 compared with the week before. The proportion of positive results among those tested was highest in Oslo (3.98 %), Viken (3.24 %) and Rogaland (2.05 %).
- In week 2, there were fewer people tested in all age groups with the exception of children 12 years and younger. The proportion of positive results was highest in the age group 0–5 years (3.03 %) and 6–12 years (2.64 %) and lowest among persons 60–79 years (1.9 %). The number of reported cases decreased in all age groups. The highest number of reported cases in relation to the population in week 2 was observed in the age groups 13–19 years (75 per 100,000), 20-39 years (76 per 100,000) and 40–59 (65 per 100,000).
- For the last two weeks, information about the indication for testing is available for 3,797 of 7,617 (50 %) cases. Among these, 1,610 (42 %) stated contact tracing as the cause, 1,421 (37 %) symptoms, 346 (9 %) border crossings, 208 (6 %) cross-border workers while 198 cases (5 %) stated other reasons for testing (including 6 tested after notification from the Smittestopp app). The proportion with border crossing as a reason for testing increased from 4 % in week 53 to 10 % in week 1, and 8 % in week 2.
- The median time from symptom onset to hospitalisation throughout the epidemic has been 8 days (lower-upper quartile: 5 - 11 days). The proportion of hospital admissions among detected cases has been highest among older age groups, and due to increased testing, the proportion of hospital admissions in the various age groups has been lower in recent months compared with earlier in the epidemic.
- Among COVID-19 cases reported in week 2 to MSIS, 43 % were born outside Norway, and among new patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 as the main cause, 48 % were born outside Norway. In the last six weeks, the number of new admissions among people born outside Norway has been stable. For weeks 1 and 2, there were most cases reported in relation to the population with birth countries Somalia and Pakistan, and most people tested per 1000 inhabitants with birth country Poland (141). For people born in Norway, the corresponding figure was 49 per 1000.
- In week 2, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has followed up the infection situation in Oslo, Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad and Bardu, in addition to almost 35 outbreaks and incidents handled by the municipal and specialist health services with assistance from the NIPH when needed. Outbreaks and incidents that the NIPH has been notified about include health and care services, workplaces, private and public gatherings, schools and childcare centres, and some other settings.
- The virus that is assumed to be more contagious caused an outbreak of infection in Drammen Hospital in week 1. Otherwise, there are mainly three subgroups of SARS-CoV-2 that are now widespread: B.1.177 virus with the mutations L18F and V222A in the S protein, B.1.36.13 virus with the mutation L54F in the S protein and B.1.1. 105 (formerly B.1.1.64) with the mutations l54F and D138Y in the S protein. The latter caused several outbreaks in Norway last month.