Another 46 coronavirus patients admitted to ICU; 800 more beds to be added this week

Gurneys in a hospital corridor
Gurneys in a hospital corridorSimpleFotoDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

A total of 1,072 people are being treated for coronavirus Covid-19 in intensive care in Dutch hospitals, according to figures released by foundation NICE on Tuesday morning. That is an increase of 46 compared to Monday. In total, ICUs in the country have treated 1,323 coronavirus patients. 149 of them died. Others recovered.

The Netherlands currently has approximately 1,600 ICU beds - 1,100 for coronavirus patients and 500 for other patients, Diederik Gommers of the intensive care association NVIC said to NOS. The intention is to extend the number of beds to 2,400 by the end of the week. Hospitals have been asked to scale up their intensive care capabilities to the maximum, Gommers said. "Everyone is working hard on that."

Gommers stressed that this is not only about more equipment, but also about having sufficient staff. An "inordinate amount" of staff is currently demanded in ICUs, he said to the broadcaster.

The NVIC director could not say whether 2,400 ICU beds would be enough. "We will see that after reaching the 2,400 beds. If we need more, we may end up in phase 3, he said. In that phase no new patients who are unlikely to survive and have a short life expectancy will be admitted to the ICU. Gommers added that he does not expect phase 3 to be reached this week. 

On Sunday, Jaco Wallinga of public health institute RIVM told NOS that the measures implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 were effective, but less so than expected. He said the "most likely scenario" is 2,500 coronavirus patients in ICU by mid-April.