Mayors are holding their breath as hospitals throughout the Netherlands begin to reach full capacity. Many want to see stricter measures to curb increasing pressure on hospitals. “The cabinet must now show strength,” Cor Lamers, Mayor of Schiedam says.
The plea from many mayors follows the closure or impending closure of multiple hospitals/departments due to full capacity caused by increasing coronavirus cases.
For example, the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Dordrecht has decided to refuse patients for the next 24 hours as all of its beds are full. Further, the emergency department in The Hague was forced to temporarily close on Friday evening.
Dordrecht hospital closed for 24 hours
Dordrecht’s hospital board chairman, Peter Van der Meer, describes the hospital’s situation as “very worrying”, RTL Nieuws reports. He explains that the hospital has told local GPs and ambulance services that the hospital cannot receive any more coronavirus patients for the next 24 hours.
This is because the hospital does not have the staff to treat any additional patients. “It is not possible to open another corona department because we do not have enough staff to do so.”
Van der Meer describes the difficult decision to refuse patients as “diametrically opposed to our sense of duty and our social function. There is no other option, without compromising quality and safety for the patients now entrusted to our care.”
Mayors from security regions are set to meet tonight to discuss the rising coronavirus cases in their regions. Mayor Jan van Zanen of The Hague describes the situation in The Hague Hospital’s emergency department as “actually unacceptable. The pressure is increasing: on the care, the beds and the staff: It is really bad,” says RTL in a separate report.
Van Zanen did not say whether or not he thought stricter measures are needed but Schiedam Mayor Cor Lamers has been outright about his opinion. He believes the cabinet needs to enforce stricter measures, and soon. “The figures are so alarming. We are now in favour of stricter measures.”
A waiting game
For now, mayors must wait for the cabinet to make a decision surrounding stricter measures. Tonight’s press conference may come as a disappointment for those under pressure, as it has been speculated that harsher measures will not be implemented this week.
Annemarie Penn-te Strake, Mayor of Maastricht, has said that she needs to “hold [her] breath,” whilst the mayor of Breda describes the rise in coronavirus cases amongst the region’s elderly as “cause for concern.”
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