Wednesday, January 19

Director of Health South-East: – Preparing us for more admissions

TAKE OVER: – If the measures are eased, we will have a further increase in omicron infection, says director Jan Frich.

The omicron wave has continued to grow strongly, despite strict measures in society. Jan Frich, Director of Health South-East, describes the situation as demanding.


– We are very worried about the unvaccinated. They are completely on bare ground against this infection and have no protection against omicron, says Frich.

Research from Imperial College London shows that there may be a 40 percent lower chance of developing serious disease with omicron than with delta.

– It is very positive. But there is a great deal of uncertainty in the numbers. The effect of less chance of serious illness disappears, if twice as many become infected. We are preparing for more admissions at the end of January and into February, says Frich.

The seas: This is what the latest studies on omikron say

Several of the hospitals in the health region now have covid patients infected with the omicron variant.

At Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, two patients under the age of 30 have been admitted with omicron infection, according to the section leader at the department of anaesthesiology at the Emergency Department, Anne Bøen. Both are fully vaccinated, but it is unclear if they have underlying diseases.

– It is too early to say anything about the course of patients with omicron infection, other than what the numbers tell us. Two of our patients at bedside have confirmed omicron infection. There is no one in the intensive care unit in Health South-East with a confirmed omicron, says Bøen.

TWO INSERTS: Section leader Anne Bøen has two young patients with omicron infection in her ward at Oslo University Hospital.

Also Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital in Oslo, has a covid patient admitted with confirmed omicron infection. Vestre Viken confirms that 13 patients with probable omicron infection have been admitted.

– The proportion of the positive samples that are likely to be omichron is now over 80 percent, says communications officer Ole-Jonny Karlstrøm in Vestre Viken tells VG.

Silje Jørgensen, chief infection control physician at Akershus University Hospital, confirms that they have had many cases of omicron infection in employees who have been vaccinated with three doses.

– They have not become seriously ill and it is currently too early to say to what extent omicron causes serious illness in vaccinated people. Here one must not judge on the basis of individual cases, but look at the big picture. There is reason to believe that even three doses of vaccine will not be able to protect absolutely everyone against serious illness, but good reason to believe that it will protect the vast majority, says Jørgensen.

– Takes over completely in two weeks

Subject director Jan Frich says that they now see two conditions in the hospitals in Health South-East:

– One is that omikron is more contagious than delta and that there will be a wave of infection faster than with the other variants. The second is that the wave of infected people is getting bigger, but that there may be a lesser chance that the disease requires hospitalization.

CORONA INFECTION: The analyzes show that an increasing proportion of the corona samples are of the omicron variant.

In the health region, around 70 per cent of the corona samples are now screened for hospital patients to determine which mutation is involved. NRK has written that FHI wants a complete overview, but Frich believes it is enough to screen 70 percent to see a direction in the development.

In the course of two weeks, the proportion of omicrons increased from 12 per cent to 58 per cent in tests from the hospitals in our region. We are investigating this because we want to know how contagious omicron is compared to the delta virus. Now the proportion is over 80 percent.

The mutation was first registered in Norway in week 47, and in the week before Christmas, omicron became the dominant variant in Norway.

– In two weeks, we think it has taken over completely, says Frich.

The infection control measures have led to less delta infection. But the omicron variant is more easily transmitted, and thus it spreads despite the measures.

– The virus variant is more contagious, and it does not cause milder disease for those who become seriously ill, says Frich

He is worried because the unvaccinated have a much better chance of being infected now.

– There is still a significant proportion have not been vaccinated. It is great that many have received the third dose of vaccine. But with the more contagious variant, there is a much greater risk that the unvaccinated will be infected now, says Frich.

INFECTIOUS CARRIER: Intensive care nurse Ingrid Katharina Bjørnøy (right) treats covid patients with colleague Trine Lydersen (left). Coordinator Helene Saxebøl follows in the background. Photo: Gisle Oddstad, VG

– Can be re-infected

People who have been infected with coronavirus earlier in the pandemic can be re-infected by the highly contagious omicron.

– A year ago, there were very few vaccinated and there was a clear connection between the number of infected and hospitalized. One could say with certainty how many would be hospitalized. It can not be calculated as well now. A very large proportion are vaccinated and it protects. Nevertheless, some become infected again, they get reinfections without getting severe symptoms. Because the body recognizes the virus quickly. It is quickly defeated, but for a period you will be able to infect others, says Frich.

He says that the curve of admissions of unvaccinated is very similar to the curve we saw in the unvaccinated population a year ago.

– Now many are vaccinated, and among them there is a much smaller proportion who become ill and have to be hospitalized. The curve for the vaccinated is completely different than for the unvaccinated, says Frich.

In Health South-East, the hospitals are preparing for the admission of several covid patients from the end of January.

– We review contingency plans and we have just reviewed all plans for intensive capacity. We also take a review of the regular beds. With very widespread infection, we can get an increased number of admissions that require simpler hospital treatment, says Frich.

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