Danish Covid-19 cases jump sharply for second consecutive day

Denmark registered 859 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the second consecutive day on which a new record has been set for the number of cases in a 24-hour period.

Danish Covid-19 cases jump sharply for second consecutive day
Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The figure of 859 is notably higher than Thursday’s total of 760, which itself set a short-lived record as the highest daily number of new cases. The previous record was 678, set on September 25th.

The latest numbers reported by national agency the State Serum Institute (SSI) state 859 new positive tests in the last day from 44,244 tests.

That corresponds to a positive test rate of 1.9 percent, according to The Local's calculations, continuing an upward trend of test positivity rate.

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

A total of 125 people are now hospitalised with coronavirus in Denmark according to SSI, an increase of 1 since yesterday. 18 are in ICU care –  also 1 more than yesterday – and 13 of the 18 are receiving ventilator treatment, which also represents a one-person increase.

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.

Three new deaths with Covid-19 were registered on Friday, bringing Denmark's death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 697.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has already confirmed that Denmark will introduce increased restrictions in response to the country’s now quickly escalating coronavirus infection numbers.

“We have been through a period with high but stable infection numbers. We are now seeing a high number of infections alongside a lower number being tested for the last few days. There is therefore cause for concern and for me to stress the seriousness (of the situation),” the PM said on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Christmas parties face cancellation as Danish PM confirms incoming Covid-19 restrictions

A fast and effective response to the situation is now crucial, senior doctor at Aarhus University Hospital Lars Østergaard said.

“It is obvious to anyone that the number if infected is now largely increasing day by day,” Østergaard told newswire Ritzau.

Testing and contact tracing remain vital resources in the face of climbing infection numbers, he stated.

Long-standing recommendations on hygiene and social distance, along with requirements to use facemasks [on public transport and in cafes, bars and restaurants, ed.] remain as vital as always, he also said.

Østergaard further told Ritzau that it is important to limit the number of people in social contact.

Currently, Denmark still allows gatherings of up to 50 people. That is expected to change when restrictions are next tightened.

The prime minister’s office has announced a briefing at 6:30pm on Friday.

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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.”