Health Minister announces upscaling of COVID care capacity in the country’s hospitals

With the number of hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19 now having reached almost 500 per day, the Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) has announced a number of measures to upscale COVID care capacity in Belgium’s hospitals. Speaking at the Consultative Committee press conference on Friday morning, Mr Vandenbroucke said that the high number of admissions of patients with COVID-19 means that the equivalent of the capacity of one entire hospital per day is now being taken up by new COVID-19 patients.  

Mr Vandenbroucke added that "Hospital capacity is not only about beds and machines, but also about people”. We need to act quickly, and as a result of this the following measures will come into force.

·        Hospitals have been asked to postpone all non-urgent operations for 4 weeks starting from Monday 26 October.  

·        Urgent operations and treatments such as chemotherapy and kidney dialysis will continue as planned. Mr Vandenbroucke stressed that patients should continue to go to hospital for treatment and added that “you are in good hands”.

·        The number of beds set aside for the treatment of COVID-19 patients will be increased. "By 2 November there with by 1,200 intensive care beds and 7,200 beds available for COVID patients in our country’s hospitals. We are asking for the creation of 300 extra intensive care beds so that we have more extra capacity for urgent operations”.

·        All new patients with serious burns will automatically be taken to the specialised burns unit at the Military Hospital in the Brussels district of Neder-over-Heembeek.

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