Covid hospital figures declining fast, but caution needed, say experts
The number of new Covid-19 hospital admissions is "declining very rapidly", said Ernst Kuipers, the chairman of national acute care network LNAZ at his press conference on Monday. Even though that should allow for regular medical care to soon resume normally again, representatives of multiple hospitals and healthcare representatives warned that the exit from the crisis is still far.
Just 138 people were admitted to hospitals with Covid-19 between the afternoons of Sunday and Monday, which is the smallest number recorded since November last year. The number of admissions to hospitals appears to be declining slightly faster than projected, Kuipers said. The decrease seems to be the most visible among people in their sixties and seventies. According to LNAZ chair, this was a "clear effect of vaccination, a point also made by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.
"This means that you can resume all kinds of programs more quickly," said Kuipers referring to treatments of people with conditions other than COVID-19.
Kuipers explained that a bed that becomes available can be used a day later for another patient. According to him, It will take some time before the waiting lists are cleared, because "the backlogs are considerable".
“We are still extremely cautious, we are not sure whether there will actually be a decline, structurally. Especially in view of the relaxation that is coming and how people will behave in this regard,” said Rene Maas of ZorgSaam hospital in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.
Thanks to the recent positive trend, the caretaker Cabinet in the Netherlands confirmed on Monday that it will proceed with relaxing more lockdown restrictions this week.
Labor union Nu91 worried the Cabinet will repeat mistakes from last year regarding relaxing restrictions too fast. “They have last year in mind and know what the consequences are,” said Michel van Erp from healthcare workers union Nu’91.
“It is good to first see what happens after these relaxations. But I am delighted with the developments. We've been waiting for this for some time,” Kuipers concluded.