Hospitals told to reserve half of their intensive care beds for COVID patients

The Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) has told hospitals that by 8 March half of all their intensive care beds should be kept free in order to accommodate patients with COVID-19. In a letter sent to the hospitals on Friday afternoon Mr Vandenbroucke wrote that Phase 1B of the health care system’s coronavirus action plan will need to be in force by March 8. 

This means that by then 1,000 intensive care beds should be available to treat COVID-19 patients. This is half of the 2,000 intensive care beds in our country’s hospitals.

Meanwhile, 4,000 standard care beds must also be set aside for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

The upscaling has come about earlier than expected. However, COVID-19 hospital numbers are rising again and the number of patients in intensive care is now back up to 400, around 25% more than just a week ago.

Six hospitals already have more than half of their intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Speaking on Friday, the Federal Health Minister stressed that this doesn’t mean that other patients need to delay getting treatment. “People should definitely not hesitate to go to hospital if the feel they need to”, Mr Vandenbroucke said.


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