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Denmark sees rise in hospitalised patients as health professionals face missing out on coronavirus testing

The number of patients hospitalised with the coronavirus in Denmark has risen to 206, with 42 in intensive care, according to the National Board of Health. This is a rise from 186 hospitalised patients and 37 in intensive care on Friday.

Denmark sees rise in hospitalised patients as health professionals face missing out on coronavirus testing
Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen : Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish health authorities predict that the number of admissions will increase in the coming weeks as more people become infected. Therefore, all non-emergency surgery has been postponed to make room for coronavirus patients.

Hospitals are also in the process of training doctors and nurses with other specialities to work in intensive care units.

It comes as three regions have temporarily stopped testing health professionals for the coronavirus.

The Region of Southern Denmark, Central Denmark and the Capital Region have introduced the temporary stop because of current supply problems and great pressure on capacity, according to two press releases from the regions.

The National Board of Health recently updated its guidelines on the management of Covid-19.

The guidelines stated that health professionals performing critical functions and exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19 may be investigated and possibly tested for the coronavirus if their employer or doctor believed it to be quickly needed. 

However, due to the rising number of cases, it may be necessary for a region to give priority to testing patients who are most seriously ill.

So far 13 people have died in Denmark after being infected with the coronavirus.

1326 people have tested positive for the virus. This is an increase of 71 people from Friday afternoon. However only those with severe symptoms are currently being tested.

Health authorities announced earlier in the week that home-testing kits will start to be offered, in order to get a better view of the spread of the coronavirus in Denmark.

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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.”