Danny Gys / Reporters

"We are still in choppy waters” says virologist Steven Van Gucht

Speaking at Tuesday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Steven Van Gucht said that although the number of people testing positive for coronavirus is still increasing the pace of the increase is now slowing. However, Professor Van Gucht warned that "At the same time we are receiving disturbing signals from the hospitals with a continued increase in the number of beds occupied by COVID patients both on standard care and intensive care wards. We are still in choppy waters and it is unclear when the storm will die down”. 

During the past week an average of 149 people with COVID-19 were admitted to Belgian hospitals each day.  "For months we were at a ceiling of between 100 and 150 admissions per day. Last Friday there were 204 hospital admissions, a remarkably high number. We seem to have broken through the ceiling”, Professor Van Gucht said.

There are currently 410 COVID-19 patients on intensive care wards an increase of around 33% in just a couple of weeks. "At the start of February there were around 300 patients in intensive care.  In the space of just a few weeks we have seen this increase by more than a third”.

Nevertheless, there is also good news. “We are seeing fewer and fewer patients from care homes. Here the impact of the vaccination campaign is clearly leaving its mark”.

The number of deaths among people that have COVID-19 continues to fall “And we have the improved situation in the care homes, where the number of COVID deaths has fallen sharply, to thank for this. The power of the vaccination campaign is in evidence among the most vulnerable in society”, Professor Van Gucht concluded. 

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