NL needs 4.5 million medical masks per week; ICU admissions climb to 1,409

The Netherlands needs 4.5 million medical masks and respirators per week to protect healthcare workers against the coronavirus Covid-19, Minister Martin van Rijn for Medical Care said on television program Op1 on Monday. The Netherlands ordered 30 million masks and respirators on the world market, he said, calling it "an absolute bonanza" as the world still faces a shortage of protective gear.

The Netherlands is looking for equipment in every corner of the world, Van Rijn said, with the country sending flights to collect bought equipment itself. The Netherlands also doesn't want to be only dependent on the purchase of masks. The Ministry is looking into ways to sterilize them so that they can be reused.

Van Rijn could not say when he shortages will be resolved. The production of masks is currently increasing. But for the time being, their use should be used with care, he said. 

The Medical Care Minister also said that he was "extremely happy" that the number of beds on intensive care could be increased so much in two weeks. On Sunday the Netherlands counted a total of 2,400 ICU beds, of which 1,900 are reserved for coronavirus patients and 500 for patients with other illnesses. Two weeks ago, Dutch ICUs could only accommodate 1,100 coronavirus patients

On Monday, the number of coronavirus patients in ICU increased by 24 to 1,409, according to figures from the national coordination center for patient distribution LCPS. 1,372 of these patients are in intensive care in the Netherlands, 11 more than on Sunday. And 37 are being treated in Germany, 13 more than on Sunday.  24 patients were transferred between Sunday and Monday, 18 of whom went to another ICU, including the 13 to Germany.

"The stable picture continues. That is beneficial. Still the further course will depend on our behavior," Ernst Kuipers of the National Network of Acute Care said. "We can currently update the forecast that is rolling out of the computer. If the current trend continues, it means that we can offer all corona patients a place in ICU if they need it. The flattening of the curve does mean that the outbreak will last longer though."