Denmark says 23 percent of hospital patients with Covid-19 were admitted for other reasons

Around 23 percent of patients with Covid-19 in Danish hospitals in December 2021 were admitted because of a diagnosis other than the virus, health authorities said on Thursday.

A file photo of a hospital bed in Denmark. The country has released figures relating to the proportion of in-patients with Covid-19 who were admitted with other diagnoses.
A file photo of a hospital bed in Denmark. The country has released figures relating to the proportion of in-patients with Covid-19 who were admitted with other diagnoses. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

A report from the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), released on Thursday, is the first to differentiate Denmark’s figure for hospitalised patients with Covid-19 according to whether or not the coronavirus was the reason for their admission.

The report thereby shows that just over three quarters of patients who had Covid-19 while in hospital last month were admitted to be treated for disease caused by the virus.

The remainder had other diagnoses. A small number of these were respiratory diagnoses that may have been triggered by Covid-19, according to the report.

The numbers used in the agency’s report relate to hospitalised patients on December 19th 2021. At that time, Delta was the dominant variant of the virus in Denmark. Omicron has since displaced it, meaning that the proportions could have since changed for this reason.

560 people with Covid-19 were hospital in-patients in Denmark on December 19th.

People who were in hospital for other reasons, but also tested positive for Covid-19, were slightly more likely to be aged under 60 than those who were admitted because of Covid-19.

The SSI report was published following recent debate over the value of the figure for the number of people in Danish hospitals with Covid-19. The total number of in-patients with Covid is updated and released daily by the agency along with other key Covid-19 metrics including the daily total of new infections.

The figure for hospitalised patients with the virus includes all persons who have been admitted to hospital for at least 12 hours and who have also tested positive for Covid-19 within the last two weeks.

Some experts and politicians have questioned whether the number is an accurate representation of the level of strain on hospitals and the health system, given not all patients included in the number require treatment for Covid-19.

Such patients could, for example, include women giving birth or people with injuries such as broken legs who also have a positive Covid-19 test.

It should be noted, however, that these patients still require more resources than patients who do not have the coronavirus, due to treatment protocols including isolation and the need for hospital personnel to wear personal protective equipment.

The Omicron variant may have affected the proportion of hospital patients with Covid-19 who are not being treated for that diagnosis. Omicron is considered to be a more transmissible variant than Delta but less likely to result in serious illness requiring hospital treatment.

756 hospital in-patients in Denmark on Thursday have Covid-19, according to SSI’s latest daily update.

READ ALSO: PM says Denmark still faces difficulties with Omicron variant

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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.