New Omicron sub-variable cases triple in Northern Ireland, according to a Department of Health briefing paper –


Belfast Trust Vaccine Team Nurse (Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

The number of cases of the new Omicron sub-variant in Northern Ireland has tripled in one week, according to new data.

The BA-2 strain now accounts for 23.5 percent of Omicron’s cases, up from 7.7 percent the previous week, according to a Department of Health briefing.

The paper cites results from the ONS study indicating that a positive test for the virus was detected in the NI population from January 1 to January 15 and from January 1 to January 22.

“Taking into account the 7-day infection period, this indicates about 15,000 cases per day, less than a third of which we are reporting,” he adds.

However, the paper adds that as of February 1, “there is no evidence of a greater risk of BA-2 or immune leakage of BA-1.”

However, the document also states that “very high levels of public awareness can lead to significant understaffing with the potential to limit health and social care capacities, as in other areas.”

The document adds: “There is still a delta virus (

“As a result of community-acquired infections, COVID bed restrictions have decreased and hospital cases have decreased slightly in the past week, which means overall occupancy has decreased slightly. ICU employment and in-hospital deaths are slowly declining. ICU arrests are still mostly due to infection Delta.

The number of hospitalizations is likely to decline slowly over the next few weeks, with some variance. “We do not expect a significant increase in ICU arrests or deaths based on current level data.”

On Thursday, daily data from the Department of Health showed that 4,203 positive cases were reported in Northern Ireland, and three deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

The executive briefing added: “It is likely that we have passed the secondary peak in case numbers for the Omicron wave.

It is driven by the return of schools and the current data is still compatible. Cases are likely to remain relatively high for the foreseeable future due to increased interactions as a result of reduced immunity and attenuation.

When viruses transform into new variants, they sometimes split or disintegrate into subunits. A delta variable contains about 200 different sub-variables.

Although the virus is less viral, it can still cause delays, especially in schools where children test positive and then have to stay home until they have had two consecutive negative flow tests for two days in a row. Other sectors were affected as parents were forced to rest.

Source: Belfastlive


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