On Monday, the number of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care in Belgium hospitals rose to 533, which is 17 more than on Sunday, when the symbolic threshold of 500 had already been exceeded.
The Sciensano national health institute no longer publishes the most recent figures after the weekend, but because of the strong rise, virologist Steven Van Gucht gave the latest update on VTM News.
"The number of patients in hospitals is increasing by 30% on a weekly basis. More than 530 patients are now in intensive care, and that increases by an average of 20 patients every day," he said.
In other words, some 650 intensive care beds would be taken up next week, and that number might even rise to 800 within two weeks, Van Gucht added.
"We have to conclude that, for the time being, we are not seeing much effect from the measures that were taken about a fortnight ago," he said, referring to the expanded use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) and the reintroduction of masks in shops.
For Van Gucht, additional measures must be considered.
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In the meantime, hospitals across the country, including the Oost-Limburg hospitals (ZOL) are calling on people to be "extremely careful" with their contacts in the coming period.
"If you feel that the measures in place are not strict enough, then raise the bar for yourself," they said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The hospital saw the number of Covid-19 patients on its campuses rise to 63 over the extended Armistice weekend. Of them, 17 are in ICU, and a large majority are non-vaccinated. "A sad record in this fourth wave."
On Saturday, the Jessa Hospital in Hasselt scaled up from 14 (the number in phase 1A+) to 18 ICU beds, and closed the intermediate care unit to convert it to a Covid-19 unit, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
In the Ghent university hospital (UZ Gent), twice as many people with Covid are cared for today as a week ago, with a total of 42 patients. Half of them need intensive care. The hospital took over 13 patients from other hospitals in the past week, mainly from other hospitals in East Flanders.