“We will only be at ease once at-risk groups and the over 65s have been vaccinated” says Dr Meyfroidt

For the first time since last October the number of people with COVID-19 that are being cared for in Belgian hospitals has fallen below 1,600. This is a far cry from the more than 7,000 COVID-19 patients that were in Belgian hospitals at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic here in early November 2020. 

The number of people in intensive care has fallen from almost 1,500 at the peak of the second wave to around 300 now. This coupled with the fall in the number of people testing positive for the virus should be a source for optimism. Could there finally be light at the end of the very long lockdown tunnel?  

Meanwhile, our country’s hospitals now have more time and space to be able to treat patients with non-urgent complaints that aren’t COVID-related. The hospitals are starting to begin to hope that a third wave with the flood of additional patients that it would bring might have been averted. However, the Leuven University Hospital intensive care specialist Dr Geert Meyfroidt remains cautious. Dr Meyfroidt told VRT News “We have been at a manageable level for some time now, this has been the case since New Year both with regard to standard care hospital beds and intensive care beds. In December and January there were some local outbreaks, but generally speaking the figures are good. Certainly, as regards intensive care we are below the figures predicted in the statistical models”.  

Dr Meyfroidt added "The more the figures fall the easier it will be to cope with an eventual rise. As a hospital you never have any control over what you will have to deal with”.

"I expect that we will only be able to be at ease once the at-risk group (people between the ages of 45 and 65 with underlying medical issues) and the over 65’s have been vaccinated. It was mainly these that flooded our hospitals”.

Dr Meyfroidt concluded by saying that the arrival of spring will also play a role in improving things. “Traditionally winter is a difficult time as regards infectious diseases. As time progresses, we are becoming more optimistic”. 

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