Covid-19 patients in ICU jump to 761

A total of 761 coronavirus patients were being treated in intensive care units in the Netherlands as of Thursday, up 18 percent from 644 on Wednesday, according to figures released by the association for intensive care NVIC. There are "few" beds available for new patients, the association said.

The number of available beds in ICU went from "sufficient" to "few" on Tuesday.

NVIC director Diederik Gommers told parliament on Wednesday that the ICUs in the Netherlands will run out of beds in the very near future. The number of coronavirus patients in ICU is expected to increase to 1,100 next week, and ICUs will also treat some 500 patients with other health problems, Gommers said. "That is sixteen hundred beds and they are not there yet."

The Netherlands normally has 1,150 ICU beds, of which half are normally used in emergencies, and 225 are used for elective care, including scheduled surgeries. Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health told parliament on Thursday that the number of ICU beds can be scaled up to about 1,600 by April 1. He also wrote a letter to parliament on Wednesday, saying the Dutch military was contributing 40 ventilators, and private clinics are providing another 70. 

The peak in coronavirus patients treated in ICU is expected in May, when NCIV expects some 2,200 patients needing intensive care, depending on how successful the government implemented measures are. 

Hospitals, security regions, and municipalities are looking for ways to decrease the pressure on hospitals. Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam contacted congress center RAI to discuss whether it can serve as an emergency hospital. Veiligheidsregio Rotterdam-Rijnmond did the same with event hall Ahoy in Rotterdam. Hotel chains Fletcher and Van der Valk are also preparing hotels for patient care. 

As of Thursday, the Netherlands counted 7,431 Covid-19 diagnoses, of whom 2,151 were or had been hospitalized.