Covid-19: Danish inpatient total continues increase but ICUs stable

The number of patients in Danish hospitals who have Covid-19 continued an upward trend on Thursday but the number in intensive care units remained stable.

Covid-19 test samples in Denmark
Covid-19 test samples in Denmark. The number of hospital patients with a positive Covid test is increasing, but the number of critical patients with the virus remains at a low and stable level. File photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

Thursday’s daily update from the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI) show that 1,354 people currently admitted to hospitals in Denmark have a positive Covid-19 test. That is 17 more than on Wednesday.

The number has increased every day since January 30th with one exception, on February 5th. It stood at 948 on the penultimate day of last month.

However, a considerable proportion of those patients are not admitted because of Covid-19. They are receiving treatment for other reasons but have also returned a positive Covid-19 test. The figure of 1,354 includes 329 patients at psychiatric departments.

33 Covid-19 patients are currently admitted to intensive care units, with 12 of them receiving ventilator treatment. Those numbers are five and four fewer than on Wednesday, respectively, and are roughly on par with the number of ICU and ventilator patients seen throughout recent weeks.

They are also lower than at the beginning of 2022, when around 80 Covid-19 patients were in ICU care.

An additional 53,747 new cases of Covid-19 were registered by SSI on Thursday from 172,183 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of 31 percent.

Testing in high numbers is less helpful than it may have been in the past given the free spread of the milder Omicron variant since national Covid restrictions were lifted, according to an expert.

“We will soon have to stop testing so many people. It does not give any information. It made sense earlier in the pandemic but the money can now be better spent,” Christian Wamberg, chief physician at the intensive care unit at Bispebjerg Hospital, told news wire Ritzau.

“We can test the people who come into hospital with symptoms and are sick. But it is otherwise silly to keep mass-testing the population,” he said.

READ ALSO: Are any Covid-19 rules still in force in Denmark?

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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.