Denmark says 23 percent of hospital patients with Covid-19 were admitted for other reasons

Around 23 percent of patients with Covid-19 in Danish hospitals in December 2021 were admitted because of a diagnosis other than the virus, health authorities said on Thursday.

A file photo of a hospital bed in Denmark. The country has released figures relating to the proportion of in-patients with Covid-19 who were admitted with other diagnoses.
A file photo of a hospital bed in Denmark. The country has released figures relating to the proportion of in-patients with Covid-19 who were admitted with other diagnoses. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

A report from the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), released on Thursday, is the first to differentiate Denmark’s figure for hospitalised patients with Covid-19 according to whether or not the coronavirus was the reason for their admission.

The report thereby shows that just over three quarters of patients who had Covid-19 while in hospital last month were admitted to be treated for disease caused by the virus.

The remainder had other diagnoses. A small number of these were respiratory diagnoses that may have been triggered by Covid-19, according to the report.

The numbers used in the agency’s report relate to hospitalised patients on December 19th 2021. At that time, Delta was the dominant variant of the virus in Denmark. Omicron has since displaced it, meaning that the proportions could have since changed for this reason.

560 people with Covid-19 were hospital in-patients in Denmark on December 19th.

People who were in hospital for other reasons, but also tested positive for Covid-19, were slightly more likely to be aged under 60 than those who were admitted because of Covid-19.

The SSI report was published following recent debate over the value of the figure for the number of people in Danish hospitals with Covid-19. The total number of in-patients with Covid is updated and released daily by the agency along with other key Covid-19 metrics including the daily total of new infections.

The figure for hospitalised patients with the virus includes all persons who have been admitted to hospital for at least 12 hours and who have also tested positive for Covid-19 within the last two weeks.

Some experts and politicians have questioned whether the number is an accurate representation of the level of strain on hospitals and the health system, given not all patients included in the number require treatment for Covid-19.

Such patients could, for example, include women giving birth or people with injuries such as broken legs who also have a positive Covid-19 test.

It should be noted, however, that these patients still require more resources than patients who do not have the coronavirus, due to treatment protocols including isolation and the need for hospital personnel to wear personal protective equipment.

The Omicron variant may have affected the proportion of hospital patients with Covid-19 who are not being treated for that diagnosis. Omicron is considered to be a more transmissible variant than Delta but less likely to result in serious illness requiring hospital treatment.

756 hospital in-patients in Denmark on Thursday have Covid-19, according to SSI’s latest daily update.

READ ALSO: PM says Denmark still faces difficulties with Omicron variant

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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.