Denmark registers slight drop in Covid-19 infections but more in hospital

Denmark on Tuesday registered a decrease compared to yesterday’s record total of new Covid-19 infections, but the number of people in hospital with the virus increased by 58.

People queue for Covid-19 testing in Aalborg on December 23rd.
People queue for Covid-19 testing in Aalborg on December 23rd. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The country’s high current transmission rates for Covid-19 were on Monday reported as being the highest registered figures per capita for any country in the world.

A total of 13,000 new cases of the virus were recorded by national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI). That number comes from 107,010 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of 12.15 percent.

Monday’s figure exceeded 15,000 for the first time, with health authorities registering 16,164 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours. The 16,164 positive results came from 130,686 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of 12.4 percent.

The tests positivity rates for both Monday and Tuesday are considerably higher than those registered previously during the pandemic in Denmark.

High demand means that authorities are currently giving priority for PCR tests to people with symptoms of the virus or who are close contacts to confirmed cases.

In addition to the PCR tests, 208,874 rapid antigen tests were taken during the last day. Positive results from the antigen tests are not included in the confirmed cases statistic.

Although the raw number of cases is lower compared to Monday, the current figures still place Denmark unfavourably in comparison to other countries, said Flemming Konradsen, professor of global health at the University of Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: Denmark has world’s highest Covid-19 infection rate

“We have something close to the world record for the number of new registered coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents,” Konradsen told news wire Ritzau.

“A part of the explanation for this is that we have a big testing capacity. But it is also related to the pace of the epidemic here (in Denmark),” he added.

The emergence of the Omicron variant as the dominant form of Covid-19 has been linked to spiralling case numbers in Denmark.

The number of people admitted to hospitals in Denmark with Covid-19 increased by 58 on Tuesday and now stands at a total of 666. This remains lower than the peak number from the winter 2020 wave, which reached 964 on January 4th this year.

A further 14 deaths were registered, meaning Denmark’s total death toll for the pandemic is now 3,231.

Konradsen stressed that the number of patients in hospital was the key metric to monitor.

“There is not a one-to-one comparison between infections and hospitalisations like we saw it last year,” he said.

“That is because the vaccine and not least the booster jab give better protection,” he said.

A further 90,688 booster vaccinations were given in the last day, bringing to 44.2 percent of the population the proportion which has received the booster.

READ ALSO: Denmark to offer earlier Covid-19 boosters to 18-39 year-olds

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Covid-19: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

A new subvariant of Covid-19 has been detected in Denmark. Health authorities say they are monitoring the situation.

Covid-19: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

The new variant was first detected in India around three months ago and has now been detected in Denmark for the first time with two confirmed cases, news wire Ritzau reports.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed the variant had been found in Denmark in a Twitter post on Saturday.

The variant, BJ.1, is a subvariant of the existing Omicron form of the coronavirus and was first registered in India on July 2nd. It has since been detected in four other countries.

“Two cases of the new Covid-19 subvariant BJ.1 have been found in Denmark,” Heunicke wrote.

“It is completely expected that BJ.1 would appear in Denmark and the State Serum Institute [national infectious disease control agency, ed.] is not currently concerned but is following the situation closely,” he said.

It is currently unclear whether BJ.1, also termed BA.2.10.1, can be expected to cause more serious symptoms than the current dominant form of Omicron.

“BJ.1 has more mutations to the spike protein than subvariants of the dominant BA.5, but the importance of these mutations is not known for certain,” Heunicke wrote.

The most recent infection trends report, issued last week by the State Serum Institute, stated that infection numbers in people aged 60 and over had increased during the preceding week. Infection numbers have been otherwise stable in all age groups in recent weeks.

Denmark currently only recommends a PCR test for Covid-19 for people at risk of serious illness who suspect they have the virus.

Last week’s infection trends report noted that BJ.1 was yet to be detected in Denmark.