Danish coronavirus infections up as meat plant confirms cases

Danish Crown has confirmed that several employees at its meat processing plant in Ringsted have tested positive for the new coronavirus. 57 cases were registered nationwide on Wednesday.

Danish coronavirus infections up as meat plant confirms cases
The Danish Crown plant in Ringsted. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The company said on Tuesday that three members of staff at its processing facility had tested positive. The figure has since increased to 16.

Danish Crown has therefore contacted health authorities and a mobile Covid-19 testing centre has been set up at the plant.

“We are in a serious situation in which our focus is fully on breaking the infection chain,” Danish Crown vice president for production Per Laursen said in a press statement.

“That’s why we are very pleased that the authorities are now stepping in and setting up a mobile test centre at the plant,” Laursen added.

The plan for testing, including which employees would be asked to participate, would be decided by authorities in order to maximise efficacy, he added.

On Tuesday, the company closed a section with 80 workers at the plant after three cases of Covid-19 were detected between Sunday and Tuesday. The 80 people in question have been sent home and are being treated as close contacts, which means they must test negative for the virus twice before returning to work.


Laursen previously stressed that Covid-19 cannot be spread via food.

“We are reacting as firmly as we are because back in March, we made a clear plan for what we would do when an employee is confirmed infected with Covid-19, he said on Tuesday.

The facility, which normally slaughters around 35,000 pigs every week, is currently operating at half-capacity. The company’s other plants kept production at normal levels, however.

57 new cases of coronavirus were registered by authorities in Denmark on Wednesday, a notably higher number than Tuesday’s figure of 30, which was called “reassuring” by one health expert.

READ ALSO: Are coronavirus cases increasing in Denmark?

Average daily new infections in Denmark have crept up throughout July. The week commencing July 5th saw an average of 18 new cases per day. That had increased to 41 by last week.

The latest daily total from national infectious disease institute SSI shows a decrease of 1 in the number of hospitalised patients. That total now stands at 21.

Of the hospitalised patients, three are in ICU care and all are receiving ventilator treatment.

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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.”