‘Not a single bed left’: UZ Brussels hospital has reached full capacity, CEO warns
Share article:
Share article:

‘Not a single bed left’: UZ Brussels hospital has reached full capacity, CEO warns

Credit: Belga

As Belgium’s infection and hospitalisation figures continue to rise, the university hospital in Brussels (UZ Brussel) has no beds left for new patients, according to its CEO Marc Noppen.

For the first time since early December, as many as 755 coronavirus patients are admitted to intensive care in Belgian hospitals today, according to preliminary figures from the national health institute Sciensano.

“We do not have a single bed left,” Noppen told Het Laatste Nieuws. “Everything is full, and the situation is very similar to that of our colleagues in Ghent and other hospitals.”

“We had to transfer 17 people to other hospitals because we are full,” he said. “All the hospital beds are occupied, including the children’s hospital.”

Additionally, due to the coronavirus measures, Belgium has seen a late surge of RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus, a virus that usually occurs in children in mid-winter), resulting in children in need of hospital care right now, on top of the Covid patients, according to Noppen.

“Transferring children is rather exceptional, and if we have to, we take them to other hospitals in the neighbourhood as much as possible,” he said.

Other patients, however, have been transferred to hospitals outside the Brussels-Capital Region, such as Antwerp, Limburg and Leuven. “But that is going to stop because all the hospitals are going to be saturated,” Noppen said.

Related News:


On Tuesday, virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht predicted that Belgium would reach the mark of 1,000 Covid-19 patients in intensive care by 10 April if the trend continues like this.

Noppen expects a peak in the number of hospitalisations between 15 and 19 April. “Even before the government asked, we already switched to phase 2A, which means a substantial expansion of the Covid intensive care and nursing department,” he said.

In concrete terms, Phase 2A means that all hospitals in the country have to reserve 60% of ICU beds for Covid-19 patients, which comes down to 1,200 beds of the total 2,000 in Belgium.

However, that also means that the hospital has less space for non-Covid pathology, which also presents itself very frequently, stressed Noppen.

“That means we will have to postpone non-urgent care again. These are procedures that can wait in the medical field,” he said, referring to things like prostheses and less-serious procedures that also require post-operative care and personnel.

On Thursday morning, however, experts warned for exactly that postponement, as they fear it could have significant “collateral damage” that would make itself felt long after the initial emergency is over.

“Personnel, in particular, is the big recurring bottleneck, as they are needed for the Covid care,” Noppen said. “But that’s the third time in a year now, and it’s getting tough.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

More wolf attacks: 15 deer killed at family resort over the weekend
Fifteen deer were killed by wolves in the Belgian province of Limburg this weekend, between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The deer were ...
Cost of breast cancer still too high for many patients
Breast cancer still carries too high a cost for patients when one in nine women in Belgium will face the disease before reaching 75, according to a ...
Person hit by train in Brussels
A person was hit by a train in the tunnel between Brussels North and Brussels Central at around 10:20 AM on Monday, railway network manager Infrabel ...
Belgium in Brief: Rules For A Fourth Wave
It's the news that nobody wants to hear, but here we go again. Belgium’s council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss ...
Belgian grandparents to walk across Scotland for COP26
A group of Belgian grandparents has set off on a 100 km hike that will take them from Belgium to the Scottish city of Glasgow, just ahead of the ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
Rise in fuel prices will bring Belgian State €547 million in tax, say Workers Party
The sharp rise in fuel prices that have been felt across the continent will bring an additional €547 million to the Belgian State, the Workers' Party ...
Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Hire bikes and scooters: Brussels Parliament wants to restore order
Majority parties in the Brussels Parliament plan to enact new rules allowing communes to set specific and mandatory parking spaces for hire bikes and ...
‘Fourth wave’ has begun: These are the rules
The expected fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic has begun, according to Belgium’s Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit). Belgium’s ...
Coronavirus: Ending the pandemic is ‘a choice,’ says WHO chief
The Covid-19 pandemic will end “when the world chooses to end it” because “all the tools” are now available to fight the virus, the World Health ...
‘Can’t keep count’: Instagram page for sexual assault testimonies overwhelmed
An Instagram account compiling testimonies in an effort to give a voice to victims of sexual violence in bars and nightclubs has been overwhelmed ...