Denmark breaks record for number of new Covid-19 cases

A total of 760 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Denmark in the last day, the highest-ever figure registered in the country, according to the latest daily update published on Thursday.

Denmark breaks record for number of new Covid-19 cases
Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

The numbers, reported by national agency the State Serum Institute (SSI), state 760 new positive tests in the last day from 43,018 tests.

That corresponds to a positive test rate of 1.8 percent, according to The Local’s calculations, a notable increase on the 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent figures for positive testing reported during the last week.

The measure has been described as an important metric in assessing the current level of virus spread.

“When the percentage of positive tests can be observed to rise as it is now over several weeks, that is not a sign we are heading towards a good place in the epidemic,” Thea Kølsen Fischer, a professor in viral epidemics and infections at the University of Copenhagen and head of research at Nordsjællands Hospital, told news wire Ritzau earlier this week.

By exceeding 700 cases in a day, Denmark has broken its record for the number of new coronavirus infections reported in a 24-hour period. Wednesday saw 630 new cases of the virus in Denmark, the second-highest ever daily total. The previous record of 678 was set on September 25th.

A total of 124 people are now hospitalised with coronavirus in Denmark according to SSI, an increase of 2 since yesterday. 17 are in ICU care – 1 more than yesterday – and 12 of the 17 are receiving ventilator treatment, and increase of three from the previous update.

Hospitalisation figures are still far lower than during the first peak of the virus in the spring, when over 500 people were admitted to hospital for an extended period.

Four new deaths with Covid-19 were registered on Thursday, bringing Denmark’s death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 694.

Health minister Magnus Heunicke has already warned that the country will see new restrictions if Covid-19 infections do not slow this week.

“The next two to three days will be decisive. I will not rule out any tightened restrictions or rules at all. We are following closely and authorities have increased alert levels,” Heunicke said earlier on Thursday.

READ ALSO: 'Increasingly concerned' Denmark signals new coronavirus restrictions

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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.”