Staying locked down could save 2021, intensive care boss urges

Staying locked down could save 2021, intensive care boss urges
Credit: Belga

Despite declining coronavirus figures, Belgium is not in a position where it should begin easing measures, the head of intensive care at the UZ hospital in Brussels said on Wednesday.

Speaking to HLN, Sabeth De Waele called for measures to stay in place until the end of the year, in order to make sure the virus doesn't ruin 2021.

"Our common strength is succeeding in reducing the virus. But I go for New Year's wishes rather than Christmas wishes. Let's not have to do this again next year," said De Waele.

"The fact is that if we keep the measures in place, we will be able to reduce the virus to such an extent that it will not have another chance and 2021 will be a pleasant year. I am sure we can do that."

According to the latest figures, Belgium has seen a 39% decrease in positive tests compared to last week. Between 11 and 17 November, an average of 405.7 patients was admitted to hospital, down 24% from the week before. Of the patients currently admitted, 1,359 are in intensive care, which is 49 less than the day before. Patients on a ventilator number 875 – 14 less than yesterday.

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UZ Brussels too has seen declining admissions recently, "but there is still a large number of patients in intensive care", explained De Waele. "We are working at double capacity, but the inflow of both corona and non-corona patients is decreasing.

"We know from the first wave that we will have at least another six to eight weeks to care for all those patients and get back to a normal level," explained De Waele "Until then, we will be deploying extra people who are not really used to working in intensive care".

Belgium's Consultative Committee is scheduled to meet again on Friday 27 November. Last Friday (13 November) it was decided that, despite the slight improvements in the country’s coronavirus situation, the current lockdown measures will stay in place for at least two more weeks.

“Especially given the reopening of the schools on Monday 16 November, extreme caution continues to be required,” explained Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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