Covid-19: Danish weekly infection total up by 50 percent

Covid-19 infections are now increasing in all parts of Denmark, with total weekly number of infections up by 53 percent.

A file photo of a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Denmark.
A file photo of a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Denmark. The country is seeing a summer wave of infections driven by the BA 5 subvariant of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The week commencing June 6th saw 5,830 new cases of Covid-19 registered by authorities, compared to 3,805 the preceding week. As such, the overall number of cases remains low.

The increase in case numbers is however accompanied by an increase in the test positivity rate – the percentage of tests that return a positive result – nationally, in all regions and all age groups.

The latest infection data comes from national disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI).

The number of administered PCR tests also increased by 11 percent between the two weeks.

Denmark lifted the majority of its Covid-19 restrictions in February, with final travel restrictions ending in March.

Health authorities now only recommend taking a PCR test for Covid-19 if you have symptoms and are at risk of serious illness should you contract the virus.

Testing is no longer recommended for close contacts of people who have the virus or are suspected to have it.

“Prevalence of infections is increasingly strongly in all age groups,” the SSI report states.

The rising infection numbers are not a cause for immediate concern, according to Allan Randrup Thomsen, professor in experimental virology at the University of Copenhagen.

“Even though we’ve seen that the virus can spread, even in warm weather, it looks as though the increase is less than if it had occurred during the winter. There is probably a restricting effect because of the season,” Thomsen told news wire Ritzau.

A new subvariant of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, BA. 5, is expected to become the dominant form of the coronavirus this summer. The subvariant comprises a large number of new cases.

SSI has previously stated there are no indications that BA. 5 is more serious than the original Omicron variant.

The number of people admitted to hospitals in Denmark who have Covid-19 has also increased. A total of 220 inpatients with Covid last week represents a 23 percent increase. The patients are not necessarily being treated for the coronavirus and may have been admitted for other reasons.

The number of ICU patients with Covid-19 remains stable, as does the number of deaths registered of people with the virus.

Thomsen said he does not expected a large number of people to become seriously ill due to the climbing infection numbers.

“Even though the vaccines do not work effectively against becoming infected, they appear to still work against serious illness. I therefore see this as a wave, but not a marked, large outbreak that we will see during the summer,” he said.

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Covid-19: Danish case numbers fall by almost one fifth

Fewer new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Denmark, with last week’s total 19 percent reduced compared to the week before.

Covid-19: Danish case numbers fall by almost one fifth

The latest report from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the Danish infectious disease agency, states 10,777 new cases were detected in the week commencing July 25th, equivalent to 183 cases per 100,000 residents.

The number of PCR tests administered also decreased 15 percent compared to the preceding week, however.

Declining viral loads in the wastewater system also suggest there’s a lower burden of infection in the country, according to SSI.

In the same period, new Covid-positive hospital admissions fell nearly a quarter, with a significant decline in the elderly population. 

There was also a significantly lower prevalence of infections among care home residents and social care sector staff, SSI states.

Last month, age concern charity Ældre Sagen called for the Danish Health Authority to bring forward planned booster vaccinations to care home residents after a 29 percent increase in new hospital admissions with the virus, with 60-89 year-olds particularly affected.

Booster vaccinations will be offered to everyone aged 50 and over this autumn.

READ ALSO: Who is eligible for a fourth Covid vaccine dose in Denmark and when?

60 deaths among people who were infected with Covid-19 occurred last week, 10 more than the preceding week.

“But this is not a sign of excess deaths in the population in general,” SSI says in the report.

Omicron sub-variant BA.5 is still responsible for the lion’s share of Covid cases in Denmark, accounting for 92 percent of positive results in the week of July 18th. 

“There is no sign of concerning spread of other subvariants,” SSI writes.