Covid-19: Number of Danish ICU patients falls as infection numbers go up

After Denmark this week lifted Covid-19 restrictions, the number of new infections hit a new record while the number of patients in intensive care continues to fall.

Danish PCR tests returned a record number of positive results for Covid-19 on February 2nd but the number of ICU patients continues to fall.
Danish PCR tests returned a record number of positive results for Covid-19 on February 2nd but the number of ICU patients continues to fall. File photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Daily data from national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI) showed that 55,001 new cases have been detected during the last day, the highest 24-hour figure so far during the pandemic.

204,652 tests were administered, giving a positivity rate of just under 27 percent.

The numbers from Wednesday come after almost all Covid-19 restrictions were lifted on Tuesday, with the government citing the milder Omicron variant, high vaccination rates and the falling number of intensive care patients as a bases for easing curbs.

READ ALSO: Denmark returns to ‘life as we knew it’ as Covid-19 restrictions end despite Omicron

The number of patients with Covid-19 in Danish hospitals rose to 1,092, which is also a new high.

But a large proportion of that figure is patients who are in hospital for reasons other than Covid-19, but who have tested positive for the virus currently.

256 of the patients are admitted to psychiatric departments, while the Danish Health Authority said in a weekly report on Tuesday that it estimates around 250-300 of the patients are admitted due to respiratory infections caused by Covid-19.

The total number of ICU patients with Covid-19 has now fallen to 26, significantly fewer than at the beginning of 2022. 16 of them are receiving ventilator treatment.

“This shows that the strain (on hospitals) and serious illness are more or less in balance,” Svend Ellermann-Eriksen, senior medical consultant at Aarhus University Hospital’s microbiology department, told news wire Ritzau.

The patients with Covid-19 nevertheless do require extra resources, he noted.

“There is some extra protective equipment. We already use face masks when we are close to patients but here we must also have a visor and apron on. Protective equipment must be put on and off and that takes time,” he said.

“This puts a clear strain on hospitals which is not insignificant. But we can be happy on the other hand, because it’s not causing patients to get badly ill,” he said.

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Covid-19: Virus remains on downward trend in Denmark in latest report

The number of Covid-19 infections in Denmark is still declining, as has been the trend for some weeks.

Covid-19: Virus remains on downward trend in Denmark in latest report

In addition to confirmed cases, the number of PCR tests administered to check for the virus is also falling. Authorities recently announced that PCR testing capacity would be halved, before a strategy for testing next winter is announced later this year.

The continued falloff in cases was one of the trends noted in a new report from the infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute (SSI). The report is based on data from the most recent week.

During the period covered by the report, the number of new cases of Covid-19 fell by 18 percent, meaning 82 in 100,000 residents of Denmark tested positive for Covid-19.

The number of PCR tests fell by 14 percent during the same period, with around 7,000 tests administered each day.

“Transmission in the community is falling in general and across all age groups,” SSI medical head of department Rebecca Legarth told news wire Ritzau.

The decline in number of new recorded cases may be linked to the reduction in recorded number of hospital patients with a positive Covid test.

Last week saw the number of hospitalised people with Covid-19 fall by 23 percent. Not all people in hospital who have the virus are being treated for it, with their hospitalisation being for other reasons in many cases.

Denmark ended its Covid-19 restrictions in February and March, while health authorities also changed recommendations on when a PCR test should be taken.

In March, the Danish Health Authority changed its recommendations on when people with suspected Covid-19 should be tested for the coronavirus, with testing now only recommended if there is a “special medical reason” for doing so.