Hospitals in Brussels have been told to reserve half of their intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients, as they will move to 'phase 1B,' announced Brussels Health Minister Alain Maron on Wednesday.
By Friday, the hospitals in the Brussels-Capital Region need to scale up their Covid-19 capacity on ICU from 25% to 50%, Maron told RTBF. This extension of beds for Covid-19 patients, however, also means that several other procedures could be postponed as a result.
Until now, Covid-19 patients were sometimes transferred between Brussels hospitals, and even to hospitals outside the region, such as Aalst and Vilvoorde. Several hospitals outside the region, however, refused to receive patients from Brussels, as they did not want to jeopardise their own care.
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Some hospitals in Brussels already saw 30% of their ICU beds occupied by coronavirus patients, according to Kenneth Coenye, chief doctor of the Cliniques Saint-Jean.
Now, however, "the pressure on the beds is increasing overall and the possibility of transfer is decreasing," Maron's cabinet said. "The daily flow of patients is becoming too heavy."
The hospitals in the rest of Belgium moved into phase 1A from Wednesday, meaning they need to reserve 25% of their capacity in intensive care for coronavirus patients.
The Brussels Times