SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Intensive care units are continuing to grapple with their biggest influx of patients since the peak of the first coronavirus wave despite signs that the number of infections is levelling off.
Another 9,504 cases were reported by the public health agency RIVM on Wednesday, bringing the average for the last week down to 9,476. A week ago, the average figure was more than 11,000. Another 289 patients were admitted to hospital with Covid-19, while the total number fell slightly from 2,761 to 2,714. However, intensive care occupancy increased from 684 to 712 as 54 patients were transferred to the ICU, the highest figure for a single day since April 9.
The OLVG hospital in Amsterdam opened a third intensive care unit on Wednesday morning to try to ease the severe pressure on its two regular facilities. The extra unit is located in the city’s Oost district.
The latest weekly figures from the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) revealed that only half as many operations as usual went ahead in the last week, while 29% of hospitals said they would have to cancel some critical scheduled operations, defined as those that are supposed to be carried out within six weeks of referral.
The number of referrals from doctors’ surgeries was 78% below the normal level. The long Christmas weekend was partly responsible for the latter figure, the NZa said.