Covid-19 update: "I see a ray of hope, but it's very fragile"

The number of corona patients in Belgian hospitals has passed the mark of 3,000 again. The number of patients in intensive care has seen a 4 percent rise. There is also some good news, 10 days after stricter corona measures were introduced: the number of new cases is down. This should have an impact on hospitalisations soon, experts hope. As virologist Steven Van Gucht put it: "I see a ray of hope, but it's very fragile." 

268 people were taken to hospital each between 30 March and 5 April, an 11 percent rise on the week. Easter Monday saw 230 new hospitalisations, while only 89 people were allowed to return home. 

This brings the total number of patients in our hospitals to 3,053, a 15 percent rise on the week. 865 (+33) are in intensive care units (ICU), 492 (+14) are on ventilators. Experts hope to keep the number of ICU patients below 1,000. 

If the figures drop soon, this may still be possible, but on the other hand the mark may already be reached later this week. In the meantime, other health care which involves intensive care has to be postponed again. Hospitals have switched to Phase 2A now, which means they have to reserve 60 percent of beds in ICU for Covid-19 patients. At the same time, they have to boost capacity with an extra 15 percent, and more beds have to be prepared for corona patients in non-IC units as well. . 

Between 27 March and 2 April 4,300 new cases were reported each day on average, a 10 percent drop on the week. Each day, some 62,000 people are being tested. However, the number of tests is down on the week during these school holidays. 

Speaking on the Tuesday press conference of the health institute Sciensano, virologist Steven Van Gucht says that the drop in Covid cases is mostly due to the children and teenagers, who have less risk of ending up in hospital. The number is highest among people in their forties at present. 

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