Hospitals told to reserve half of their ICU beds for patients with COVID-19

Less than a week since they were told to set aside a third of intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients, hospitals in Belgium have been told to reserve 50% of their ICU capacity for people that have the virus. 

On Monday evening the Hospital Transport & Surge Capacity Committee (HTSC) told hospitals that they were to move into phase 1B of its action plan. It was only last Wednesday that the hospitals entered phase 1A, under the conditions of which they have to set aside one third of ICU capacity for COVID-19 patient. One third of capacity is 666 beds.

Now they are in phase 1B half of the 2,000 intensive care beds in Belgian hospitals must be reserved for patients with COVID-19 by this coming Friday (19 November).

The latest figures show that 533 COVID-19 patients in Belgium are in intensive care. However, with the number of COVID-19 patients on the country’s ICUs currently increasing at a rate of 20 a day, the number of COVID-19 patients could exceed 650 by the start of next week. If the increase in patient numbers continues there could be around 800 patients with COVID-19 on the intensive care wards of Belgian hospitals within a fortnight. 

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