First drop in Covid-19 patients treated in ICU since pandemic began

Light the Sky: Erasmus MC in Rotterdam lit up to show support for care and aid workers in the Covid-19 crisis, 22 March 2020
Light the Sky: Erasmus MC in Rotterdam lit up to show support for care and aid workers in the Covid-19 crisis, 22 March 2020Erasmusm MC, @ErasmusMCTwitter

The number of patients being treated in intensive care fell for the first time since the pandemic began, with ICUs treating 16 fewer people than a day earlier. There were 1,408 Covid-19 patients receiving treatment in ICU on Wednesday, according to Ernst Kuipers, the chair of the National Network of Acute Care.

"We are seeing a decrease in the number of ICU admissions for the first time," Kuipers said. For several days, experts have said they were cautiously optimistic about the reduction of new admissions to intensive care. There was an increase of 36 patients reported on Saturday, 25 on Sunday, and 24 on Monday. That fell to 15 on Tuesday.

"This is favorable and corresponds to the development in the past week," he added. "Nevertheless, the workload at the ICUs remains high. This calls for continuation of government measures," he stressed. 

"It's good to realize that 1,408 is still so much," said Bas Leerink, who manages the team responsible for spreading patients out across all Dutch medical facilities. "In the Netherlands, before the crisis, we had 1,150 ICU beds of which seventy percent were utilized on average. And now we have 1,408 just for Covid-19 patients."

"Only when the number of corona patients in intensive care drops below 1,000 can we think about relaxing the [social distancing] measures," Kuipers stated.

Hospitals in the Netherlands were treating 1,356 of those patients requiring intensive care, a decrease of 22. Another 52 Dutch cases were being treated over the border in Germany, an increase of six.

Another 375 patients without coronavirus were being treated in Dutch intensive care units.

The hospitalization of new patients who tested positive for coronavirus has fallen for seven days in a row in the Netherlands, according to preliminary figures from health agency RIVM. Of the 20,500 people who tested positive, 7,750 required hospitalization. Around 3,000 were in hospital care on Tuesday.

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