National respiratory infection and COVID-19 statistics
An Official Statistics publication for Scotland
As at 20 February 2023
- 23 February 2023
- Statistical report
- Public Health Scotland
- Population health
About this release
This is a weekly release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) on epidemiological information on seasonal respiratory infection activity in Scotland including COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care services have functioned differently now compared to previous winter respiratory seasons, so the consultation rates are not directly comparable to historical data.
Overall assessment for week 07 (week ending 19 February 2023):
- The proportion of NHS24 calls that were for respiratory symptoms in week 07 remained at Baseline activity level
- Influenza decreased to Baseline activity level (1.1 per 100,000 population). There were 62 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases: 22 type A (not subtyped), eight A(H3), and 32 type B. This compares to 109 laboratory-confirmed cases reported during week 06
- Adenovirus, seasonal coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2), and rhinovirus decreased from Low to Baseline activity level. HMPV decreased from High to Low activity level
- In the Community Acute Respiratory Infection (CARI) sentinel surveillance programme; rhinovirus was the most commonly detected pathogen in week 06, with a swab positivity of 23.4%. Influenza (A and B) swab positivity decreased from 6.6% in week 05 to 5.2% in week 06. RSV swab positivity decreased from 3.7% in week 05, and was at its lowest at 2.4% in week 06
- The overall number of emergency hospital admissions associated with RSV, influenza and SARS-CoV-2 has decreased from the high plateau seen in weeks 51 and 52. The largest proportion of admissions (72%) in week 06 2023 was for SARS-CoV-2, with the individual number of admissions (SARS-COV-2) showing very small increases, whilst Influenza and RSV numbers decreased
- In Scotland, in the week ending 07 February 2023, the estimated number of people testing positive for COVID-19 was 96,500 (95% credible interval: 80,300 to 114,700), equating to 1.83% of the population, or around 1 in 55 people (Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK - Office for National Statistics)
- There were on average 715 patients in hospital with COVID-19, a 1.9% increase from the previous week ending 12 February 2023 (702)
- As part of the Winter 2022 vaccination programme 1,988,003 people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and 1,933,563 adults have been vaccinated for influenza.
Surveillance of respiratory disease pathogens is a key public health activity as infection is associated with appreciable levels of morbidity and mortality, especially during the winter months and particularly among those at risk of complications, including the elderly, children under two years of age, those with chronic health problems, and pregnant women.
Respiratory infection can be caused by a number of pathogens and there is no single surveillance system or data source that can describe the onset, severity and impact of SARS-CoV-2, influenza and other respiratory pathogens, or the success of any control measures. In Scotland, respiratory infection levels and their impact are monitored using various sources of data, including microbiological sampling and laboratory test results from community and hospital settings, NHS 24 calls, primary care consultations, and hospital (including intensive care) admissions. The intelligence generated from these different data sources provide a comprehensive picture of current respiratory illness in Scotland.
Seasonality patterns and variations
Many respiratory illnesses, including influenza, are typically associated with a seasonal increase in the autumn and winter. These seasonal patterns have been established based on many years of surveillance data. However, in some cases, circulation of these pathogens have deviated from their usual seasonal trends due to changes in social mixing patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As yet, SARS-CoV-2 has not been shown to follow the same seasonal patterns as other respiratory pathogens. Increases in infections outside the winter season may be occurring for a variety of reasons, including the emergence of new variants and time-varying fluctuations in population immunity associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The next release of this publication will be 2 March 2023.
Find out more
Versions of the Weekly national respiratory report publication released before 30 November 2022 may be found on the Public Health Scotland website
Versions of the COVID-19 weekly statistical report publication released before 30 November 2022 may be found on the Public Health Scotland website
Open data from this publication is available from the following weblinks:
- COVID-19 Open Data platform
- Respiratory Open Data platform
- Flu and COVID Vaccination Uptake Open Data platform
- Ethnicity Data: The COVID-19 & Respiratory Surveillance in Scotland interactive dashboard was updated on 25 May 2023 to include more recent information relating to ethnicity of COVID-19 hospital admissions.
- 28 September 2022 COVID-19 statistical report publication contains information on COVID-19 infection and vaccination in pregnancy in Scotland.
- 2 March 2022 COVID-19 statistical report publication contains information on Highest Risk (shielding patients list)
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Older versions of this publication
Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.