Increase in hospital admissions less sharp than had been feared

Hospitals in Belgium will no longer be required to reserve 50% of all their intensive care beds free to treat COVID-19 patients from Monday 8 March. Last Friday the Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Flemish socialist) said that the country’s hospitals should be prepared to set aside half of their intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients from this coming Monday. However, with the increase in the number of people being hospitalised having been less than had been feared, the daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reports that hospitals will no longer be required to scale up the number of beds they set aside to treat patients with COVID-19. 

After last Friday’s Consultative Committee meeting Mr Vandenbroucke couldn’t have been clearer.  "The number of hospital admissions is rising quickly, and hospitals will have to switch back to phase 1B (of the COVID action plan)”. 

The deadline for the hospitals to have scaled up to phase 1B was Monday 8 March. In phase 1B hospital must keep 1,000 intensive care beds (half of the total) available for the treatment of people with COVID-19. At the end of last week, the surge in the number of hospital admissions was giving politicians and medical experts great cause for concern. 

On the day of the last meeting of the Consultative Council that decides on the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus (Friday 26 February) 204 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital. There were fears that the number of hospital admissions was set to skyrocket. 

However, as yet this has not happened. Currently 21% of all intensive care beds are occupied by coronavirus patients. This is up from between 17% and 18% last week. This means that hospitals now have a week longer to upscale to phase 1B if this should prove necessary.


Top stories