Up to 12-day waiting time for Covid-19 tests reported in Danish cities

People in Denmark’s two largest cities Copenhagen and Aarhus are currently facing waiting times of up to 12 days to be tested for coronavirus.

Up to 12-day waiting time for Covid-19 tests reported in Danish cities
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Other parts of the country are experiencing even longer waits, with 12 and 14 days in Slagelse and Holbæk respectively and 16 days in Roskilde. The towns of Skjern and Mejrup currently have no slots available at all.

The figures come from Testcenter Danmark, which operates the country's mobile testing sites.

People in areas with long waiting times have been able to book tests sooner at alternative locations, Ritzau writes.

Additionally, some areas, including Copenhagen, have mobile test centres which do not require appointments in advance.

Nationally, 25 of the 34 permanent test centres which are open every day currently have waiting times of at least two days.

The type of appointments in questioned are for people with mild symptoms or with no symptoms who want a test for precautionary purposes – for example prior to visiting an elderly relative.

People with more serious symptoms, or with close contact to confirmed cases, use a different route or ‘track’ to access Covid-19 tests, and are therefore subject to different waiting times. Close contacts are reported to have waiting times of 0-3 days for testing at the current time. The waiting time is less still for those with serious symptoms or in need of treatment.

But the numbers nevertheless indicate that testing capacity is currently not reaching the government target of availability within one day for 80 percent of the population.

Demand for tests is likely to have increased in recent days, given the surge in cases reported in the country since the beginning of this week.

Danske Regioner, the umbrella authority for regional health services, said on Thursday that test capacity is being expanded, while the government on Thursday said it would deploy private companies to help increase capacity.

READ ALSO: Denmark extends lockdown to 31 more municipalities as Covid-19 cases spike

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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.”