Wave of Omicron patients more likely to end up in regular hospital ward than ICU
Most Covid-19 patients will soon be infected with the Omicron variant, as the new variant dominates over the Delta variant, according to the RIVM. Experts told the Volkskrant that the new wave of patients is more likely to end up in the regular hospital ward than the ICU.
Chantal Bleeker-Rovers from the Radboud UMC called the development good news. "In the Netherlands, we have many more beds in the regular hospital ward than in the ICU. We also have more healthcare professionals who can take care of patients outside the ICU. This gives us more flexibility and room to treat these patients."
A sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 patients could nonetheless lead to hospitals becoming overcrowded. "The nursing ward is the center point of the hospital. If patients start to build up there, the ICU can no longer accommodate patients," chair of the Dutch Internists Association Robin Peters said.
According to Bleeker-Rovers, a rise in coronavirus infections could ultimately lead to a high absentee rate among healthcare professionals who become infected, which also puts pressure on the healthcare sector. "It's a tricky combination," Bleeker-Rovers said.
Professor of clinical microbiology Heiman Wertheim suggested that if Omicron indeed turns out to be milder than the Delta variant, hospitals need to work together with GPs to rehabilitate Covid-19 patients. "We need to put all cards on smart monitoring system that support home nurses and GPs. This way, we can relieve the pressure on hospitals and counteract regular hospital wards from becoming overcrowded."