Covid infections in Sweden on the rise

Covid-19 infections in Europe are rising, and now the Public Health Agency is seeing an increase in the rate of infection in Sweden.

sara byfors standing by a table with a glass of water
Sara Byfors, head of department at the Public Health Agency, at a press conference on Thursday. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Between November 15th and 21st, 7,102 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Sweden, an increase of 22 percent compared with the week before.

So far this week (from November 22nd to November 25th) 7,243 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in the country.

In addition to the recent decision to implement vaccine passes at indoor events with over 100 guests, further infection control measures which could be introduced if the Public Health Agency deem necessary include general advice to reduce crowding at markets, shops and leisure activities, such as sport facilities and swimming pools. There is currently no information as to when, or even if, these measures will be introduced.

Although the increase in infections could in part be due to an increase in testing after new recommendations were introduced on November 22nd, Sara Byfors, an expert at the Public Health Agency, explained in a press conference on Thursday that the agency also believes that the figures represent “a real increase in the rate of infection”.

The increase in infections has not yet translated into a sizeable increase in patients being treated in intensive care for Covid-19. There has been a slight increase in the proportion of intensive care patients who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, although numbers are still relatively low across the country. As of lunchtime on November 26th, 32 people were being treated in intensive care for Covid-19, an increase of two since November 19th.

The amount of new deaths from the virus is also still relatively low, with six deaths within 30 days of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis occurring since November 19th.

However, figures concerning inpatient care look slightly different. Urban Lindberg, head of department at the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), explained that the amount of people being treated for Covid-19 in inpatient care is rising.

“We’re not seeing the same increase within intensive care as we’re seeing outside of intensive care,” Lindberg explained. “But we think the curve for intensive care will probably start following the same developments in inpatient care again,” he said.

A majority of regions are expecting the situation within the healthcare service to worsen in the near future, newswire TT reports.

Additionally, a new virus variant with unusual mutations has been discovered in South Africa, which is raising concerns internationally due to the fact that it could be more contagious than the current dominant variant, Delta.

According to the Public Health Agency, no cases of this mutation have yet been discovered in Sweden.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said of the new virus that there is “not much we can do with the small amount of information we have”, adding in an interview with newswire TT that it should be “fully possible and indeed, relatively simple, to adapt the vaccine, if needed”.

You can follow The Local’s blog on the Covid-19 situation in Sweden here.

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