One month after the first omicron cases were detected in Norway, the virus variant is dominant and more widespread than the delta virus, according to the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH).
Nearly two thirds of all corona cases that were sequenced in Norway in week 52 were of the omicron variant. A total of 6143 omicron cases were detected. It writes FHI in a press release.
– The figures show a small increase in the omicron variant through Christmas, but it is difficult to know whether these figures reflect the actual situation in the last couple of weeks. However, there has been significantly less testing than otherwise, and we will probably get a more accurate picture of the infection development now that everyday life is back on track for most people, says department director Line Vold in FHI in a press release.
The variant dominated in the last week of the year in all counties in Norway except in Agder. The highest proportion of cases was in Troms and Finnmark and in Nordland counties with 88.9 and 87 per cent, but NIPH emphasizes that this is based on small figures and must be interpreted with caution. The lowest share was in Agder with 47.9 per cent.
Expect large wave of infection
– We see that areas with a high spread of infection also have a high proportion of the omicron variant, but otherwise there are probably a lot of coincidences that control how large a proportion of the variant is found in the various counties, says Vold.
On 1 December, the first omicron cases were detected in Norway. There were two people in Øygarden municipality who had been traveling in South Africa. One month later, the virus variant is dominant in this country. The National Institute of Public Health expects a major wave of infections in the coming weeks.
FHI’s Line Vold emphasizes that the most important thing now is that unvaccinated people protect themselves by taking the first vaccine dose, and that everyone else who has taken the second vaccine dose more than 20 weeks ago takes a refreshing dose.
According to FHI’s latest weekly report, there are still just over 320,000 Norwegians over the age of 16 who have not received the first dose.
Wave in several countries
A number of countries have announced before Christmas and through the Christmas and New Year weekend that the omicron variant is dominant.
Among the last in the series were France, Switzerland, the USA and Portugal, while the Danish public health institute Statens Serum Institut (SSI) announced that omikron was dominant as early as 21 December.
The omicron variant has led to a new wave of infection and hospitalizations in many places. The municipalities and hospitals are now preparing for this wave to arrive in Norway in January.
Still get hospitalized with omikron
Of the 201 new coronary patients who were admitted to Norwegian hospitals last week, omicron has been detected in 19, while other variants have been detected in 67 patients. The vast majority, 115 patients, have not been screened for the virus variant.
In week 51, there were 14 new corona patients in the hospitals who were diagnosed with omicron, while 174 had other variants confirmed. The proportion of those screened who had omicron was then 7 per cent, while the proportion increased to 22 per cent the following week.