Brussels University Hospital CEO: “1 intensive care ward is already full”

The CEO of Brussels University Hospital (UZ Brussel) Marc Noppen has told VRT News that the number of people with COVID-19 that are on intensive care wards at his hospital has doubled over past 10 days. Speaking in an interview with our weekday topical discussion programme ‘De afspraak’, Professor Noppen added that one of UZ Brussel’s intensive care wards is already full to capacity. 

“For 10 consecutive days now we have seen a rise in the number of patients being admitted. Since New Year we had been on a plateau of between 30 and 35 patients per day. 10 days ago, we had dropped under 20 per day. We were very happy, but we were too optimistic. Now admissions have doubled in just 10 days to 41 patients and 1 intensive care ward is completely full”.

Professor Noppen went on to say that the average age of those being looked after on UZ Brussel’s intensive care ward is lower than it was previously. 

“The level of illness among the patients currently being admitted is at least as severe as it was during the 1st and 2nd waves. Above all respiratory complaints. What we are seeing is that the average age is somewhat lower. These are people for whom your reflex is much more to want to do all you can to save their lives. If things take a turn for the worst, you take almost everyone to intensive care. With very old people, and this has nothing to do with COVID, you are more inclined to respect the will of the patient. Some people that are between 90 and 95 would prefer not to be taken to intensive care. This is much less the case among younger people.”

Professor Noppen went on to say that the increased presence of new coronavirus variants might have served to fuel the increase in the number of people requiring hospital treatment for COVID-19

“We now see that a half or more of the infections are with foreign variants. We know that they are more infectious. It could be that in some cases they make people more ill that is the case will the classic variant. However, we don’t know yet”. 

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