Danish Covid-19 infections fall back following record day

The most recent update sees an additional 4,860 new cases of Covid-19 in Denmark.

A file photo showing a sample for a Covid-19 test. Denmark registered over 4,600 new cases on December 2nd.
A file photo showing a sample for a Covid-19 test. Denmark registered over 4,600 new cases on December 2nd. File photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

The figure comes from 189,695 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 2.47 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of people admitted to hospital with the virus fell on Thursday by 12 to 427.

The numbers provide some sense of respite after an unusually large figure for daily infections on Wednesday, which set a new record for the epidemic in Denmark.

Wednesday saw 5,120 new cases come 195,137 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 2.62 percent. Two days ago, 4,148 cases were reported with the positivity rate being 2.58 percent.

Professor in clinical microbiology at the University of Southern Denmark, Hans-Jørgen Kolmos, said Thursday’s update appeared to be positive news in the context of the preceding week.

“This looks like a status quo. It’s not a large difference seen across the last week. Neither the number of infections nor the number of hospitalisations has increased further and the longer term trend appears to be stagnating,” the professor told news wire Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Denmark urges public to get booster jabs after Covid-19 infections break record

A leading health official in Denmark said on Wednesday that authorities believe Covid-19 vaccines are “probably” effective against the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The variant, first identified in South Africa where it is now spreading exponentially according to international reports, has so far been detected 14 times in Denmark.

Danish health authorities believe vaccines are likely to be effective against the variant even though it maybe more transmissible than the currently-dominant Delta variant, the director of Denmark’s national infectious disease agency SSI, Henrik Ullum, said at a briefing on Wednesday.

At the time of the briefing, 7 cases had been confirmed in Denmark and 108 globally outside of South Africa.

“But when we as a small country have found seven, that is probably not because we have many more (than other countries) but because we are good at finding them,” Ullum said.

Indications from South Africa so far suggest Omicron is more transmissible, however.

“There’s significant concern that antibodies in vaccines do not bind quite as well,” Ullum said.

Denmark has currently restricted travel from 10 African countries but not European cases with several confirmed Omicron cases such as Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.

That is because the variant is not widespread in those countries, while the Danish cases are largely linked to travel from South Africa, the Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm said at the briefing.

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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.