What effect could Denmark’s recommended Covid-19 reopening have on hospitals?

What effect could Denmark’s recommended Covid-19 reopening have on hospitals?
Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix
Should the government follow recommendations submitted by an expert group to the Ministry of Health and announce a partial lifting of coronavirus restrictions, infection levels with the virus will increase.

According to the expert group report, which draws on mathematical modelling, around 870 people will be hospitalised with the virus by mid-April should its recommendations for reopening be followed.

READ ALSO: In brief: The recommendations for lifting Denmark’s lockdown

That number is close to the number of hospitalisations during the winter surge of the virus in late December and early January. Denmark had 964 Covid-19 inpatients on January 4th and hospitals in some regions struggled to provide adequate capacity.

That threatened to impact other areas of acute and planned hospital care, according to a Danish Health Authority document reported by news wire Ritzau.

Additionally, high levels of strain on hospitals – which were periodically reached during the weeks in questions — can result in exhausted and burnt-out healthcare staff, according to the document.

“There is no doubt that reopening has a price. We will see more hospitalisations and more deaths [compared to retaining current restrictions],” said Christian Wejse, professor and senior medical consultant at Aarhus University’s Department of Clinical Medicine.

The Danish Health Authority has said that, based on the previous experiences of health services at hospitals in the east of Denmark, it would be “medically inappropriate to in relation to the overall health condition of the public if the strain due to admissions of patients with SARS-CoV-2 again reaches the level of the long peak during the second wave”.

The authority has said that hospitalisations should not exceed 300-400 for an extended period if “approximately normal operations” are to be maintained in the health service, meaning normal investigation and treatment services for non-Covid-19 patients.

Denmark has a total of 247 Covid-19 inpatients nationally at the time of writing. The figure has decreased gradually since early January.


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