Half of all critical care set aside for Covid, non-urgent operations postponed

Belgian hospitals have been instructed to switch to phase 1B of the corona plan.  This entails that half of all beds in critical care wards must be reserved for Covid patients by next Monday. 

This means that a thousand critical care beds are now being set aside for Covid patients.  The number of beds set aside for Covid patients in regular wards is 4,000.  As a result non-urgent operations will have to be postponed.

Phase 1B in Belgian counting is the third highest phase of four.  When all 1,000 critical care beds set aside for Covid patients are occupied, 60% of beds will be reserved taking the total to 1,200.  Extra beds will then be added to critical care wards.  Normally Belgium has 2,000 critical care beds. Under Belgium’s distribution plan that involves transferring patients out of their area 40% of critical care beds must always be reserved for non-Covid.

“Necessary medical interventions will of course still be carried out from Monday onwards” Wendy Lee of the federal health ministry confirms.  “We’re talking about care that cannot be postponed.  This will ensure wards are not overburdened.”

Pressure on Belgian hospitals has increased significantly in recent days: over 500 patients are now in critical care for the first time since December.

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