Monitoring Belgian COVID-19 infections in work sectors [Molenberghs et al. 2022]

Molenberghs, Verbeeck, Vandersmissen and Godderis provide regular reports on the evolution of the 14-day incidence of COVID-19 in Belgium by employment sector. The authors used two main data sources: data from the National Social Security Office (RSZ/ONSS) and IDEWE contact tracing data. 

The first data source, RSZ/ONSS, allows the study of the 14-day incidence of positive COVID-19 cases among the majority of the Belgian workforce, including workers in private and public sectors, interim employment and job students. Thanks to an additional linkage, the data source also includes self-employed workers. The evolution of the 14-day incidence of COVID-19 is investigated for the 5 levels of the Nomenclature statistics on the economic activities of the European Community (NACE).  

The second data source, the IDEWE contact tracing data, covers employees of companies affiliated with IDEWE, an external service for prevention and protection at work. However, an index case can be any person in the workplace (e.g., in education, pupils are also included). The 14-day COVID-incidence of index cases is investigated using 10 IDEWE customer segments, which resemble the NACE level 1 and 2.

Each report provides a wealth of information. Below, a brief overview of the results from the RSZ/ONSS analyses on NACE level 1 is provided. The full reports can be consulted via the weblink. 

   

Report of 2 February 2022 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 31 January 2022 significantly above the working population average are
  • Education
  • Human health and social work activities
While the increase in the 14-day incidences in most sectors shows indication of levelling off, the incidence Education, Human health and social work activities and Public administration and defence; compulsory social security continues to increase sharply. 
The report includes additional analyses on absenteism at work.

    

 

Report of 26 January 2022 
The level 1 sector with a 14-day incidence on 24 January 2022 significantly above the working population average is 
  • Education
The 14-day incidences continues to increase sharply, with an average 14-day incidence in the working population that is well above the average in the general population. 
The report includes additional analyses on absenteism at work.
The full report (ENG): https://fdn01.fed.be/documents/b1bee3753fed08b19352e4f282b28154/COVID%20RZS2021_v24.pdf 

 

Report of 20 January 2022 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 17 January 2022 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Education
The 14-day incidences continues to increase sharply, with an average 14-day incidence in the working population that is well above the average in the general population. 
Additional analyses are performed on absenteism at work.
The full report (ENG): https://fdn01.fed.be/documents/673ce0c9025bb2f0d475ab9ffc386590/COVID%20RZS2021_v23.pdf 

 

Report of 12 January 2022 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 11 January 2022 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Information and communication
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Accommodation and food service activities 
The 14-day incidences sharply increases again with an average 14-day incidence in the working population that is almost twice the average in the general population. 
The full report (ENG): https://fdn01.fed.be/documents/4649c2545cc24d3be81bed2b0d69bacc/COVID%20RZS2021_v22.pdf 

 

Report of 30 December 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 27 December 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Information and communication
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities
The 14-day incidences continue to decline, although the decline is less in the last week. 

 

Report of 20 December 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 13 December 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Education
  • Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
The increase in incidences have stopped in all sectors and incidences are rapidly declining. 

 

Report of 1 December 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 29 November 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Education
  • Human health and social work activities
  • Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
The sharp increase in incidences continues in all sectors and many sectors reach the highest incidences levels since the start of collecting work sector related incidence levels in September 2020. 

 

Report of 18 November 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 15 November 2021 significantly above the working population average are
  • Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
  • Human health and social work activities
  • Education
  • Other service activities
The sharp increase in incidences continues in all sectors, with a sharper increase in the Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector. 

 

Report of 4 November 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 1 November 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Education
  • Human health and social work activities
  • Public administration and defence
The sharp increase in incidences in the last 3 weeks is present in all sectors. 

 
Report of 21 October 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 18 October 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Education
  • Human health and social work activities
The 14-day incidences in the working population is again significantly above the general population incidence, indicating a stronger increase in incidence among the working population than among the children.The increase in incidence in the last week is present in all sectors. 

 

Report of 8 October 2021 
 The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 4 October 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Education
  • Human health and social work activities
Since the 14-day incidences in the working population is significantly below the general population incidence, many sectors have a 14-day incidence significantly lower than the general population average. Education is the only sector with an incidence significantly above the general population incidence, due to the linear increase of incidence, since the opening of primary and secondary schools in September. Also, Arts, entertainment and recreation shows an increase in incidences in the last two weeks. 

Report of 24 September 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 20 September 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Administrative and support service activities 
  • Human health and social work activities
Although none of the sectors has an incidence significantly above the general population incidence. Since the 14-day incidences in the working population is significantly below the general population incidence, many sectors have a 14-day incidence significantly lower than the general population average. The 14-day incidence has reached a plateau or decreases for most sectors, except for Education, which shows and increase of incidence, since the opening of primary and secondary schools in September. 

 

Report of 8 September 2021 
 The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 30 August 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Transportation and storage
  • Human health and social work activities
The 14-day incidences in the working population and the general population are almost equal, resulting in many sectors with a 14-day incidence significantly lower than the working and general population average, such as Education. The increase in the 14-day incidence since beginning of July has slowed down, but still continues. 

 

Report of 6 August 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 2 August 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Accommodation and food service activities
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Wholesale and retail sale
Several sectors have a 14-day incidence significantly lower than the working population and even the general population average, such as Education. The increase in the 14-day incidence since beginning of July is slowing down in the last weeks. 

 

Report of 18 July 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 12 July 2021 significantly above the working population average are 
  • Accommodation and food service activities
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Wholesale and retail sale
Several sectors have a 14-day incidence significantly lower than the working population and even the general population average, although the decline in the 14-day incidence stopped for all sectors in June 2021. 

 

Report of 18 June 2021 
None of the level 1 sectors has a 14-day incidence on 14 June 2021 significantly above the working population or the general population average. Several sectors have a 14-day incidence significantly lower than the working population and the general population average. For the first time, the 14-day incidence in the working population is lower than the incidence in the general population. The decrease in the 14-day incidence since the beginning of April 2021 continues for all sectors. 

  

 

Report of 3 June 2021 
None of the level 1 sectors has a 14-day incidence on 31 May 2021 significantly above the working population average. 
Some sectors have a 14-day incidence significantly lower than the working population average, while Human health and social work activities has an incidence significantly lower than the general population average. The decrease in the 14-day incidence since the beginning of April 2021 continues for all sectors, similar to the decline in the general population. 

 

Report of 21 May 2021
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 17 May 2021 above the average, from high to low incidences, are: 
  • Water supply and related activities
  • Education
  • Manufacturing 
  • Construction
  • Wholesale and retail trade 
  • Real estate activities
The decrease in the 14-day incidence since the beginning of April 2021 continues for most sectors, similar to the decline in the general population. The Human health and social work activities continue to have one of the lowest incidences, together with Information and communication. 

 

Report of 7 May 2021 
The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 3 May 2021 above the average, from high to low incidences, are: 
  • Water supply and related activities
  • Transportation and storage 
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Wholesale and retail trade 
The decrease in the 14-day incidence since the beginning of April 2021 continues for most sectors, similar to the decline in the general population. The Human health and social work activities continue to have one of the lowest incidences, together with Information and communication.

 

Report of 23 April 2021 
 The level 1 sectors with a 14-day incidence on 19 April 2021 above the average, from high to low incidences, are: 
  • Water supply and related activities
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Wholesale and retail trade 
  • Transportation and storage 
  • Manufacturing
  • Other service activities
  • Real estate activities 
  • Construction 
The 14-day incidence is decreasing for all sectors, quite substantially so for Education, a sector that reaches incidence levels similar to the general population. The effect of vaccination shows in the Human health and social work activities by having the lowest incidences. 

 

Report of 9 April 2021 
The level 1 sectors with highest 14-day incidence on 5 April 2021 above the average, from high to low incidences: 
  • Education
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Other service activities
  • Construction
  • Water supply and related activities
Longitudinally, the 14-day incidence has been increasing since January 2021 for all sectors, except for Human health and social work activities. The 14–day incidence which was increasing since beginning of March 2021 is slowing down or decreasing for most sectors. 

 

Report of 31 March 2021 
The level 1 sectors with highest 14-day incidence on 29 March 2021 above the average, from high to low incidences: 
  • Education
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Water supply and related activities
  • Real estate activities
  • Other service activities
  • Construction
Longitudinally, the 14-day incidence has been increasing since January 2021 for all sectors, except for Human health and social work activities. 
The full report (ENG): https://d34j62pglfm3rr.cloudfront.net/downloads/COVID+RZS2021_v4.pdf 

 

 

About HELICON

HELICON is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

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Information sheet for participants: EN • NL • FR

Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Lifestyle and Chronic Diseases

brecht.devleesschauwer@sciensano.be