The St-Lucas hospital in Bruges is to close to visitors and new admissions for ten days in an effort to damp down a flare-up of new cases of Covid-19, CEO Niko Dierickx said.
The hospital’s Covid-19 wing is full, and patients are having to be diverted to other hospitals in the area. The wing holds 29 patients, with another five being treated in ICU.
But the reason for the visitor ban is a sudden flare-up of new Covid cases within the hospital itself.
“Two departments are affected,” Dierickx told Het Laatste Nieuws. “From contact tracing we came to the conclusion that the virus had entered the hospital through visitors. That is why we have to take this drastic measure. The number of patients has increased considerably in recent days. At the same time, staff members drop out. Feel free to call it an internal lockdown. This also has consequences for scheduled admissions that will not take place. Our regular care must be scaled back.”
At the same time, he regretted the need to take such a measure, particularly at this time of year.
“We noticed that, precisely because of this festive period, visitors were becoming more and more relaxed. They were more relaxed in their own behaviour and that is really not the what we want,” he said.
As a result, the incidence of the virus went up 20%.
Now the hospital predicts a third wave will begin about the third week in January, once people return from winter holidays.
“There are simply too many risks being taken,” Dierickx said.
The hospital has had to refer patients to the Zeno hospital in Knokke, while the figures in the nearby AZ Sint-Jan in Bruges are also still worrying.
“We can of course scale up our capacity, but that would mean we can offer even less regular care, and then we would need extra staff. I have already had to bring people back from leave to keep things going. This makes our people despondent and I understand that.”