SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch intensive care specialists say they expect between 500 and 1,000 coronavirus patients will have landed in intensive care wards by next week and that most will be in Noord-Brabant province, where the epidemic first took hold.
Last night, 177 people were being treated in intensive care wards, up from 135 on Tuesday. The death toll from coronavirus in the Netherlands rose 18 overnight to 76, according to the latest update from public health institute RIVM on Thursday.
The number of confirmed tests rose by 409 to 2,460, the RIVM said. The actual number of infections is far higher than the positive test results indicate, because only people showing serious symptoms, and healthcare workers, are currently being tested.
Nevertheless, Brabant continues to dominate the statistics, with over 870 cases. To prepare for the expected pressure, patients in IC wards at Brabant hospitals will be moved elsewhere to free up beds, the NVIC said.
Groningen’s UMCG hospital has already accepted two people and hospitals across Brabant are now assessing what needs to be done. There are currently 575 beds available for intensive care corona patients, but this can be boosted to 1,500 or even 2,000 if necessary, officials said earlier.
Earlier on Thursday NVIC chairman Diederik Gommers said that just 14 of the 58 coronavirus patients to die so far were being treated in IC units. The rest were in ordinary wards, nursing homes or at home.
Most were very elderly and had serious underlying health complaints, he told the Volkskrant. ‘If a patient is very old, has a poor heart and has undergone three operations in the past few months, the family and doctor may sometimes decide that there is no point in treating them in intensive care,’ Gommers told the paper.
Some patients are having to be kept on breathing apparatus for two weeks before there is any sign of improvement, Gommers said. ‘Some patients have been there longer. It has a real impact on you.’