Hospitals switch to phase zero as number of patients in ICU drops to 300

Hospitals switch to phase zero as number of patients in ICU drops to 300
Credit: Belga

Hospitals in Belgium can now switch to phase zero of the government's distribution plan for coronavirus control, meaning they are almost back to business as usual.

In this phase, a maximum of 15% of the beds in intensive care units should be reserved for coronavirus patients, which means that, for the whole of Belgium, 300 of the 2,000 ICU beds should be available, instead of 500.

On Friday, the number of coronavirus patients in ICU dropped to 300, whilst a total of 770 people were in hospital as a result of the coronavirus, a figure not seen since early October last year.

If necessary, hospitals must be able to scale up again within 48 hours.

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Margot Cloet of Zorgnet-Icuro confirmed to Belga news agency that hospitals could drop to phase zero, but stressed that the pressure on hospitals is still high in Antwerp, Brussels, and Hainaut.

"We will see what the evolution is in the next weeks. However, this is very good news for the people whose care we had to postpone. They can now be readmitted," said Cloet.

In March this year, hospitals were asked to scale up to phase 2A, meaning they had to reserve 60% of ICU beds for coronavirus patients, or 1,200 of the 2,000 available beds, as 98% of all intensive care beds – both for Covid and non-Covid patients – were full.

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