Too many Dutch people are ending up in intensive care: can the system cope?

Intensive care (IC) units around the country are now dealing with 761 coronavirus patients, according to the latest figures from the Dutch Association for Intensive Care (NVIC).

That means only a low number of IC beds are now available. The NVIC says that the number of people ending up in IC is “going too fast,” with 117 people joining yesterday.

There are normally 1150 beds in the Netherlands. With 761 taken up by coronavirus patients, and an unreported number in use by other patients, hospitals are reaching full capacity.

Some relief on the way

However, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced yesterday that the Netherlands is working on expanding the number of beds to around 1600. This could happen as early as next week. Around two-thirds of these beds will be used to cope with the increasing number of seriously ill corona patients.

Part of the difficulty is the length of time that each coronavirus patient must use the bed for. While diagnoses continue to soar, each patient admitted to the IC spends around two to three weeks attached to a respirator, according to the NVIC.

Rutte’s response

Prime Minister Rutte said they are working hard to continue to build capacity for the incoming hospital admissions. “From there, people will also go to IC,” he said. “I fear that there will also be bad news about people who die in the coming days. Additionally, there will be increasing numbers in the infections. That is really the expectation,” he said.

“What we have to prevent is to draw conclusions based on daily figures. You have to look at trends when it comes to hospital capacity.”

What are the trends?

The trends Rutte may be referring could be the news that the growth of infections in the Netherlands is reducing. While it’s early days for the numbers, authorities remain “cautiously optimistic” that containment measures are beginning to create a flattening of the curve.

In the meantime, Rutte is expecting all hospitals to do their part over the coming days. “Hospitals in Brabant or in other places where it becomes too much, ask other hospitals: jump in.”

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

Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


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