Professor Van Gucht: "Average of 3,000 new infections/day by the end of the week"
Speaking at Tuesday morning’s National Crisis Centre press conference, the virologist Professor Steven Van Gucht said that he expects the number of people testing positive for coronavirus to have reached 3,000 per day sometime this week. “The plateau phase is making way for a rising trend. We are now seeing a rise in the number of infections, in all provinces and among most age demographics".
"This week we will probably reach an average of 3,000 confirmed infections per day. The number of tests being carried out has risen, but also the percentage tested that test positive has gone up to around 6.6%. This means that there is greater circulation of the virus”, Professor Van Gucht said.
"Around 6% of infections results in hospitalisation. This percentage has remained relatively stable. So, we expect that there will be a further increase in hospitalisations this week, towards 180 per day.”
Professor Van Gucht also remarked that that the number of COVID-19 patients in Belgian hospitals is now above 2,000 and that more than 500 of these are in intensive care.
"The curve for the number of patients in intensive care is rising more quickly than that for the number of hospitalisations. Patients that are being admitted are now being sent on to intensive care more quickly than was the case a few weeks ago.”
The virologist also stressed that 1,000 intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is the absolute maximum to ensure that quality care can be guaranteed. He warned that although we appear to be a long way from 1,000 beds an exponential rise could mean that they are filled very quickly.
“We are at a potential turning point, but we can determine the further evolution of the curve. Limit your direct contacts awaiting the further roll out of the vaccination campaign”.