Danish hospitals see big rise in number of Covid patients

While intensive care rates remain steady, there's a "continued increase" of Covid infection and hospitalisation among nursing home residents and the elderly in Denmark, according to infectious disease agency the State Serum Institute.

Danish hospitals see big rise in number of Covid patients
Nursing home residents are experiencing more Covid infections and hospitalisations in recent weeks, according to the State Serum Institute. Photo: BilledID: 20210709-115418-6 Restrictions: Headline: Plejehjem Description: Medarbejder kører med ældre beboer i kørestol i Plejecenter i Kalundborg den15. junii 2021 Byline: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

New admissions of patients with Covid-19 rose 29 percent in Danish hospitals between the last week of June (589 new admissions) and the first week of July (761 new admissions), the SSI said.

The bulk of the patients currently hospitalised with Covid are ages 60-89, the SSI’s weekly report says. 

While the SSI judges that there are “overall signs of a stabilisation” in general infection rates, monitoring of wastewater indicates the concentration of Covid is actually on the rise. (Denmark greatly reduced its public testing and surveillance programs, which had been considered among the most extensive in the world, this spring.) 

Fourth shots for nursing home residents? 

Ældre Sagen, a non-profit association that advocates for the needs of the elderly (and sister organisation to the AARP in the United States), has called on the National Board of Health to offer additional boosters to nursing home residents. 

“If infection rates continue to rise, we risk potentially being to late,” Ældre Sagen’s Michael Teit Nielsen told Danish broadcaster DR. 

READ MORE: Danish health minister says further Covid-19 vaccinations could ward off restriction

What about BA.2.75? 

Public health officials at SSI say that BA.2.75, an omicron sub-variant that has spread rapidly through India, is not yet a source of major concern in Denmark. Only five cases have been identified to date, with “a proportion” of those cases attributed to a single transmission chain from a Dane who had been infected while in Greece. 

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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.