Coronavirus cases in Norway tops 400 as first patients admitted to hospital

Coronavirus cases in Norway tops 400 as first patients admitted to hospital
Cornovirus test kits in Germany. Illustration photo: AFP
Norway has now confirmed 401 coronavirus cases in total.

Just over 400 people had tested positive for the virus in Norway on Wednesday morning, according to Norwegian daily VG, which has collected all the country's separate cases directly from each commune and put them into a map.

VG's number is therefore higher than the one on the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (FHI) website (277), which only updates its number at 6pm every evening.

“We understand that people are concerned about their health and their loved ones,” FHI area director Geir Bukholm said earlier this week.

“Increasing infection numbers is an expected development in an epidemic.”

Norway confirmed its first case of the coronvirus on February 26th. While the number has increased rapidly since then this is partly due to Norwegian health authorities widespread testing of people who could have been contaminated by the virus. 

The average age of the infected people was 44. More men than women have been infected (60 and 40 percent respectively).

The majority of cases were infected abroad or have been traced close contact with people who were infected abroad. On Monday, FHI reported that 55 people were infected in Norway and 134 were infected abroad. That left three initial cases for which the route of infection is unclear.

Six of the cases were admitted to hospital care, broadcaster NRK reported on Monday night.

“These numbers are still fairly small and influenced by where we have had cases originally that have travelled and acquired infection abroad. We have then traced infections based on these cases, and some have become clusters of infection where we see that there are several close contacts that are infected and thus the number goes up,” FHI head of department Line Vold told NRK.

Vold noted the average age of infections reflected that relatively few elderly people have become sick with the virus.

“This probably reflects a little who has been traveling. So it's a kind of ‘healthy traveller effect’ as we tend to call it, that is, the very oldest people are not represented in our reported cases because they have probably not been in these (outbreak) areas,” she said.

The FHI director did not comment on the age of the six hospitalized people due to patient confidentiality.

But the first person in Norway to have been admitted to hospital care with the Covid-19 illness was hospitalized in Drammen on Sunday. This was due considerations related to the person’s general health, NRK writes.

FHI on Monday presented its plan for a scenario in which a coronavirus epidemic in the country peaks with 1,700 people hospitalized at once, including 600 in intensive care, NRK reports.

The plan accounts for an overall total of 22,000 hospital admissions due to the virus including 5,500 in intensive care.

But the outlook remains unclear regarding the strain under which Norway’s health service is likely to come, the authority stressed.

FHI is required to set out scenarios so the health care system can plan infection control and capacity in hospitals.

“(The figures used in the plan) are intended to show possible development for the purposes of planning. There is great uncertainty about when the epidemic will start and how fast it will develop,” FHI consultant doctor Preben Aavitsland said to NRK

The figures represented a “demanding scenario” Aavitsland admitted while noting they did not represent a forecast, since uncertainty remains too high to predict outcomes.

READ ALSO:

The coronavirus situation in Norway remains less serious than in other countries, but you can keep up to date with the latest news via this article, which also includes official guidelines on the everyday precautions you can take and what to do if you have travelled to outbreak areas or are concerned about symptoms. The article will be updated on an ongoing basis.

We are keeping the article paywall-free, which means it will remain open to new or occasional readers. An explanation of this decision can be found at the bottom of the article.

 


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