The Department of Health has published the next in the series of weekly results from its COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS).

  • During the most recent week of the study (14 August – 20 August), it is estimated that 43,300 people in Northern Ireland had COVID-19 (95% credible interval: 33,600 to 53,900). 
  • This equates to 2.36% of the population (95% credible interval: 1.83% to 2.94%) or around 1 in 40 people (95% credible interval 1 in 55 to 1 in 35).
  • Modelling suggests that the percentage of people testing positive has increased in the week ending 20 August in Northern Ireland.
  • In the latest six-week period, there were 14,562 swab tests taken in total from 10,681 participants. Of these, 193 participants tested positive from 148 different households.
  • In the latest two-week period, of the 5,160 participants in the study, 90 tested positive from 69 households.

Variant analysis

A new variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified in the UK in mid-November 2020. The Alpha variant (B.1.1.7, previously known as the UK variant) of COVID-19 has changes in one of the three genes that COVID-19 swab tests detect, known as the S-gene. This means in cases compatible with the Alpha variant, the S-gene is not detected by the current test and has the pattern ORF1ab+N (S gene negative) in the main variant analysis. Other variants – including both Delta (B.1.617.2) and Beta (B.1.351) – are positive on all three genes, with the pattern ORF1ab+S+N. Almost all ORF1ab+S+N cases in the UK will now be the Delta variant, so this group is labelled “Compatible with the Delta variant”.

More information on individual variants and where they were first detected is available on the government variant dashboard(external link opens in a new window / tab).

In recent weeks, infections compatible with the Delta variant have been the most common across all four UK countries. Due to this high proportion of a single variant, a breakdown of infections by variant has not been included.  The main variant analysis was last published on the 23 July 2021(external link opens in a new window / tab), where more details can be found. Infections by variant will continue to be monitored and the charts and analysis will be introduced when considered helpful.

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