Coronavirus update: hospitals prepare for the 500 to 1000 patients expected next week

The RIVM has just published the latest count of coronavirus cases in the Netherlands for Thursday the 19th of March, the current number stands at 2460. This is an increase of 409 patients since the last count. Sadly, 18 people have also perished since yesterday (aged between 63 and 95 years as is reported).*

Next week, 500 to 1000 coronavirus patients are expected to be taken into intensive care units at Dutch hospitals

Preparations are currently underway to prepare hospitals for this surge. The majority of these patients are expected to be admitted to hospitals in Brabant, NOS reports.

As of last night, there were 177 patients in the Netherlands in intensive care units as a result of coronavirus, but following the patterns that have been observed in other countries, the Netherlands can expect a large increase in this number next week.

Majority of coronavirus patients will need intensive care in North-Brabant

Because the majority of these cases is expected to occur in North-Brabant, hospitals in the province have begun to prepare for the surge by transferring patients with coronavirus who are in intensive care to other hospitals outside the region. The Amphia hospital in Breda has transferred five of its thirteen coronavirus patients to a hospital outside of Brabant, and the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg is also looking into transferring more patients to hospitals outside the province.

Patients transferred to other hospitals to make room for an expected surge in coronavirus patients

It’s not that these hospitals don’t currently have enough resources to treat patients with coronavirus: instead, this is a preventative measure before next week’s expected surge in patients. Because most of the increase is expected in Brabant, it makes sense to free up beds there. “We do this as a precaution. It’s not that we can’t take it anymore, but we expect a new wave of patients to come next week,” says Diederik Gommers in an interview with NOS, a representative from the Dutch Association for Intensive Care.

Does the Netherlands have enough intensive care beds to deal with coronavirus?

Currently, there are 575 intensive care places ready for coronavirus patients in the Netherlands. This can be expanded to 1500 during the crisis phase of the outbreak- at least in theory. However, over 500 respiratory machines need to be found in order for that plan to come to fruition.

There’s much talk about the Dutch strategy to counter corona, you can read more about that extremely difficult debate right here. Rutte has also stated that a lockdown is still an option, but not the way to go right now since the ICU units are still sufficiently available.

Follow DutchReview on Facebook for more information about the coronavirus in the Netherlands.

*As we’ve reported earlier, the actual number of cases is actually higher in reality. Why will DutchReview keep reporting the official number then? Well, it signals a trend and direction of the pandemic, that’s one thing. The number of deaths also is relevant. And we’re also attaching other news about coronavirus in the Netherlands to these articles, so you know you’re getting an update from DutchReview somewhere between 14 and 15 pm. 

Feature image: Pixabay

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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