Denmark again breaks 2021 record with ‘concerning’ number of new Covid-19 cases

After three days with under 4,000 new cases of Covid-19, Denmark registered 4,199 positive tests for the virus on Tuesday, the highest figure so far in 2021.

A file photo of Covid-19 tests in Denmark. The country on Tuesday set a 2021 record for new cases in a day.
A file photo of Covid-19 tests in Denmark. The country on Tuesday set a 2021 record for new cases in a day.Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

The 4,199 new infections represent the highest daily total since December 18th last year, when 4,508 were infected in one day. That is also the highest number throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in Denmark.

The figures come from national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI). 164,596 PCR tests were taken in the last day, giving a test positivity rate of 2.55 percent.

High infection numbers close to Tuesday’s level have now been consistent in Denmark for the last week.

Thursday and Friday last week both saw over 4,000 new infections recorded in the country and were, until Tuesday, the two days with the highest number of new infections in 2021.

Saturday’s total of 3,795 new infections and Sunday’s figure, 3,415, came from 189,557 PCR tests and 143,762 PCR tests respectively. That gives positivity rates of 2 percent and 2.38 percent for the two weekend days.

The total of 3,711 set on Monday came from 133,782 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of 2.77.

Tuesday therefore see a return to over 4,000 new cases for the first time since Friday last week.

The numbers represent a concerning trend, according to an analyst who spoke to news wire Ritzau.

“We have very many infections and this certainly gives some concern in relation to whether we have the situation under control or whether it will continue to increase,” said Kasper Kamark Iversen, professor and senior medical consultant at the University of Copenhagen and Herlev-Gentofte Hospital.

The number of patients admitted to Danish hospitals with Covid-19 has doubled in the last four weeks.

On Tuesday, 444 persons were in hospital with the coronavirus nationally. That is six more than Monday and the highest number since February.

85 new patients were admitted to hospital during the last day. That total is offset by discharges, giving the overall increase of six patients.

Hospitals are now feeling the strain of the high number of admissions, which remains lower than the peak from the second wave of the virus in Denmark. The figure exceeded 900 in early January this year.

“We have significantly fewer hospitalised than we had in December and January during the big wave,” Iversen said.

“But the situation is also different now in that we have a massive nurse shortage and closure of beds,” he added.

“So the system is certainly a bit more strained,” the professor said.

Of the 444 currently hospitalised patients, 49 are admitted to an ICU ward while 22 are receiving ventilator treatment.

READ ALSO: Denmark reinstates Covid-19 sick leave compensation for parents and companies

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Denmark’s Covid-19 hospitalisation figure ‘could reach 750’ in December

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark could increase to 750 this month, according to a projection from an official expert group.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The expert group for mathematical modelling, which is attached to the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), released the estimate on Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, 449 patients with Covid-19 are admitted to hospitals in Denmark. The figure has been increasing in recent weeks but is still some way short of the peak hospitalisation figures from the winter 2020 wave, which exceeded 900.

“There are not catastrophic conditions yet but we have a combination of a tangible lack of nurses combined with this strain (of high patient numbers). It is clearly putting pressure on hospitals,” Kasper Karmark Iversen, senior medical consultant and professor at the University of Copenhagen and Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, told news wire Ritzau earlier this week.

The mathematical expert group calculates possible scenarios in which coronavirus restrictions could be phased out.

“The projections show a continued increase in the number of hospitalisations,” said the head of the group, Camilla Holten Møller.

“New hospitalisations of 70-200 per day and 550-750 in hospital (in total) are estimated up to the middle of December,” Møller said.

The figure for new hospitalisations does not account for discharged patients and therefore does not reflect the overall change in the total number of patients in hospital with Covid-19.

The expert group also predicts between 3,400 and 8,300 new cases of the virus daily by the middle of December. The group notes that its projections do not take into account the vaccination drive launched by the government this week. They also only partly account for anti-infection measures already in place, such as Covid-19 health pass (coronapas) requirements and face mask rules.

A total of 4,559 new Covid-19 cases were reported in SSI’s daily update on Friday. The total comes from 196,932 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 2.32 percent.

Daily cases have now been over 4,000 for six consecutive days. Friday’s positivity rate is a little lower than the typical rate seen this week, which is closer to 2.50.