Second Danish coronavirus infection identified

A second person in Denmark has tested positive for coronavirus.

Second Danish coronavirus infection identified
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The person fell ill with a cough after a recent skiing holiday in northern Italy, the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen, DHA) has confirmed.

They were examined at Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet, which on Friday confirmed that the test was positive for new coronavirus, news agency Ritzau reports.

The individual returned from a ski holiday in northern Italy on February 15th and became ill with a cough three days after returning.

They contacted their own doctor on February 27th — nine days after the first symptoms — and were then referred to Rigshospitalet, where a throat swab confirmed coronavirus infection.

Health authorities in Denmark have advised people who have been in outbreak countries who are experiencing symptoms not to present at hospitals or attend doctors’ surgeries, but to contact health authorities by telephone.

Denmark’s first confirmed case of the virus was reported on Thursday. That infection also occurred after a ski holiday in northern Italy, the area of Europe which has seen the most serious outbreak.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: The everyday precautions to take if you're in Italy

The new case does not change DHA’s strategy to contain the virus as much as possible.

“Our strategy remains to quickly contain the spread of infection by diagnosing Covid-19 [the disease caused by the coronavirus, ed.] and treating the patient in isolation,” the agency’s director Søren Brostrøm said via a statement.

In addition to isolation, people who have been in contact with the infected person will be traced.

The infected person has been placed in home quarantine by the Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed). The authority has begun work to find persons who may have been in contact with the infected individual.

No further information on the infected individual has been released at the time of writing. Therefore, the age, gender and place of residence of that person are unknown at present.

At least 180 people have so far been tested for coronavirus in Denmark, Ritzau reports, while others have been placed in home quarantine because they have been in contact with an infected person. That includes 16 employees at broadcaster TV2, the workplace of the first person in Denmark to test positive for the infection.

DHA has said that it expects more confirmed coronavirus case in Denmark, but Brostrøm on Thursday urged the public in Denmark not to panic.

He also advised people who have been in outbreak countries who are experiencing symptoms not to present at hospitals or attend doctors’ surgeries, but to contact health authorities by telephone.

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say when contacting health authorities in Denmark

“Don’t panic (if you think you have symptoms). You can be assured that our health system is ready – we have not switched to maximum alert yet, but are prepared to do so if necessary,” he said to TV2 on Thursday.

The virus often begins with symptoms resembling a common cold and can develop into respiratory infection. The elderly and people with already-weakened immune systems are most at risk of serious complications.

“With (new coronavirus) it seems that most people have mild symptoms, but the elderly and people who are already sick can get very ill and die,” Brostrøm said.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 80 percent of patients infected with the virus suffer mild illness and recover. Around two percent of all cases are fatal.

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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”