Yves van Lethem, Belgium’s spokesperson for fighting the coronavirus, has warned that unless the Belgians change their behavior, the intensive care units will reach 2,000 patients in 15 days.
Liège, the largest city in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, has the highest infection rate in Belgium. Liege University Hospital Communications Director Louis Maraette told CNN on Tuesday that due to staff shortages, the hospital had no choice but to get doctors and nurses who tested positive but had no symptoms to come to work.
He added: “This is not a problem because they work in Corona virus units with patients who have also tested positive.” Maraite said health workers infected with Covid-19 account for 5% to 10% of the hospital’s total workforce.
Another hospital in Liège, CHC MontLégia, confirmed to CNN that health workers without symptoms have been asked to continue working on a voluntary basis and in “strict adherence to sanitary procedures” which include limiting contact with their colleagues.
A spokesperson for the communications department of the private hospital told CNN that the staff without symptoms mainly work in Covid-19 units but can work in all units, including those with patients without coronavirus, except for the elderly, neonatal and oncology departments, where the patients are located. It is particularly “vulnerable”.
A spokeswoman for the Belgian Ministry of Health told CNN that allowing asymptomatic health workers to continue working is permitted under “very strict conditions” due to the lack of sufficient health care workers. “We are trying to ensure the safety of all patients,” she added.
At a press conference on Monday, Van Lethem said that 1,000 intensive beds are already in use in the country, and that 1,250 are slated to be filled by the weekend. He added that hospital admissions and intensive care were doubling every eight days.
In an interview with state broadcaster RTBF on Monday, Van Lethem added that a decision will be made on whether to impose a second lockdown “before the end of the week”, adding that if Belgium does not see “signs of hospitalization slowing down”, more measures may be necessary. Strictness.
The government imposed new rules on residents last week in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. A curfew is in place every day from midnight to 5 am, restaurants and cafes close for seating services, and people are expected to work from home unless that is impossible. Amateur sporting events have been canceled and any professional competitions must be held without an audience.
While Van Lethem said that while it may be “possible to get out of this without a lockdown,” the authorities are preparing for all eventualities, and if the second lockdown is imposed, the government “will not waste two or three days” before implementing it. Into effect.
Belgium has recorded a total of 333,718 cases and 10,899 deaths since the start of the epidemic, according to Censano.