From Wednesday, all hospitals in Belgium will move to the so-called phase 1A, in which they have to reserve 25% of the beds in their intensive care unit for coronavirus patients.
At the national level, hospitals are currently still in phase 0, which means that 15% of intensive care beds are reserved for coronavirus patients.
“On Wednesday, we will scale up to phase 1A,” chairman of the Belgian Society of Intensive Medicine Geert Meyfroidt told De Standaard. “Of the approximately 2,000 intensive care beds, some 500 will be reserved for coronavirus patients. This will also make it easier for hospitals to distribute patients.”
“In the previous phase, phase 0, we had reserved 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients. Now, more than 200 of them are occupied already and, given that the curve is rising exponentially, we already know that it will not be enough,” he said on Flemish radio.
Several hospitals, such as in Brussels and Antwerp, already were in phase 1A, and the others were also getting closer to reaching their capacity, according to Meyfroidt. “In that case, it is good to be prepared so that the patient distribution plan can work properly, and normal care can also continue to take place everywhere.”
However, he also said that regular care will likely suffer as a result of this extension of beds for Covid-19 patients. “We are trying to limit [the impact], and hospitals are also working to limit that, but it will have an impact.”
He emphasised, however, that hospitals are better prepared now than they were in March. “We have of course learned from the first peak, and are now sounding the alarm much earlier,” Meyfroidt said.
“Regardless, there is no doubt that we are facing a very difficult autumn. In any case, the figures will continue to rise for at least another week, only then will we be able to see how well the new measures are being followed.”
The Brussels Times