Hospital capacity for coronavirus patients in Brussels saturated

Hospital capacity for coronavirus patients in Brussels saturated
UZ Brussel – Brussels Health Campus. Credit: Belga/Paul-Henri Verlooy

All hospital beds for patients with the coronavirus in and around Brussels are full already, with the University Hospital (UZ) even transferring patients to a hospital outside the Region.

"With a few exceptions, all the beds in Brussels and the surrounding area provided for coronavirus patients are already full," Dirk Devroey, dean at the Faculty of Medicine of the VUB told VRT on Saturday. "Plans are being rolled out in all hospitals to free up hospital rooms for coronavirus patients."

As general practitioners are already overwhelmed, and hospitals are slowly filling, Dervoey fears that hospitals' regular medical care may become compromised.

"It worries us," he said, adding that the authorities should think about implementing new measures. "Beds that were destined for people who had to undergo surgery will be assigned for coronavirus patients again."

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According to Marc Noppen, CEO of the University Hospital (UZ) Brussels, many people do not seem to realise what is happening. The authorities should put more focus on raising awareness, he said.

"I understand that people are experiencing 'coronavirus fatigue' and get the same message every time. But you would be shocked how many people do not realise what is happening," he said on Radio 1 on Sunday. "We also notice this in patients: there really is still room for information and awareness-raising."

As many Covid-19 patients are in intensive care (a total of 184 across Belgium on Sunday), the UZ has to check whether or not important interventions for non-Covid patients can go ahead on a daily basis.

"Every morning we look at what we can do," he said, adding that the hospital already has to transfer patients to other hospitals outside the Brussels-Captial Region now, to the hospital of Aalst.

"If that is full, we will have to transfer to Ghent, Antwerp or Leuven," said Noppen. "The situation worries us," he added, recalling that the coronavirus still has the same severe effects on patients as it had in the spring.

"I feel that this has not yet got through fully, in society and among decision-makers."

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels times

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