SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – In total, 349 people were admitted to hospital with coronavirus in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning, the highest number since December 28.
There are now 2,540 coronavirus patients in hospital, of whom 488 are being treated in an IC unit, national patient monitor LCPS said. Taking people who are discharged into account, the number of coronavirus patients in hospital has risen by 110 since Monday.
LCPS chief Ernst Kuipers said on Monday that with the current rate of increase, the number of coronavirus patients in hospital will equal last winter’s peak within a few days.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of Dutch hospitals say they are no longer in a position to deliver essential care to patients within the required six-week period, to prevent further damage to their health.
Fourteen hospitals now say they cannot meet the requirements for ‘critical planned care’, a rise of two in five days. The Dutch healthcare authority NZa also says that the pressure on intensive care and ordinary wards is ‘growing and serious’.
In total, 49 out of the 73 Dutch hospitals say more non-essential treatments are being delayed. Operating theatre capacity has been cut by 29% nationwide because of the lack of staff to deal with regular care.
Public health institute RIVM said on Tuesday that 153,957 new cases of coronavirus were registered in the week to Tuesday morning, a new record and a rise of 39% on last week.
It is the seventh week in row that the number of new cases has risen by around 40%, and the number of positive tests has gone up 14-fold since the beginning of October.
Regional health boards carried out almost 630,000 tests last week, and 22% of them were positive.
Almost one fifth of the new infections are in children aged five to 14, and one in four children who was tested for coronavirus was found to have the disease. The RIVM also said that 64,322 of the tests carried out last week were to confirm the results of a self-test.
In 85% of cases, the positive result was confirmed by the regional health board. Excluding these cases from the health board results, 15% of tests were positive, the RIVM said.
The impact of the measures introduced a week last Saturday should begin to be felt in the coming days, the RIVM said.
However, both ministers and government health experts have warned that the measures – such as avoiding busy places – are being widely ignored and pressure is mounting on them to introduce new rules, including a lockdown.