Hospitals must get ready for Covid overload the next few months: RIVM
Dutch hospitals need to be ready if there is a sharp rise of coronavirus cases, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Control Jaap van Dissel and RIVM chief modeler Jacco Wallinga said in an interview with NOS.
The RIVM expected the number of Covid-19 patients in the ICU to range between 180 to 400 in January if the current measures are kept in place. Such an increase could cause hospitals to overload, ICU doctor Diederik Gommers said earlier this week to NOS.
"What we want to say with the prognoses is that we certainly cannot rule out a high level of ICU occupancy, but the margins are broad. So we must prepare ourselves for that possibility," Wallinga said.
The Outbreak Management advised the Cabinet to keep the current coronavirus measures in place for the time being. Van Dissel said the OMT did not see enough reason currently to impose stricter measures. "An important uncertainty is, for example, the seasonal effect, but the weather is difficult to predict," Van Dissel said. The expected peak is still far enough in the future to leave enough time to adjust the measures in case coronavirus cases increase sharply, according to the expert.
The healthcare system can manage smaller outbreaks, but stricter measures will be necessary if coronavirus infection numbers begin to increase nationwide sharply, according to Wallinga.
The Covid-19 vaccines are still effective in combating the number of ICU admissions, the experts said. Earlier this week, the RIVM announced that more than 80 percent of Covid-19 hospital patients were unvaccinated.
In the spring, there could be a booster Covid-19 vaccine for vulnerable people, according to Van Dissel. "We are not in a rush because the Covid-19 vaccines still efficiently prevent hospital admissions," Van Dissel said.