Hospitals get ready for second coronavirus wave, as infections rise again


Nearly all hospitals in Noord-Holland and Flevoland provinces are reducing regular medical care by 20% to make sure acute services can continue to cope when the second coronavirus wave hits, the regional acute care association Roaz has said.

Non-urgent appointments and operations are being delayed but emergency care provision will not be affected, officials say. ‘We are trying to shave 20% off in a safe way,’ chairman Yvo Roos said. ‘The difference with the first wave is that this is more controlled.’

Ernst Kuipers, head of the national patient coordination centre said on Monday he expects the number of hospital patients to reach 1,000 this week and that some patients are being moved to other hospitals with more capacity.

The number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands reached 4,581 in the 24 hours to Monday morning, while the number of hospital patients hit almost 900, of whom 177 were in intensive care.

Kuipers also warned that if the number of new cases does not slow down, the government may have to introduce additional measures to combat the spread of the virus.

The government brought in a nationwide 10pm closure time for cafes and restaurants last week and has issued an ‘urgent recommendation’ that face masks be worn in shops and public buildings.

Utrecht city council has already introduced 10pm closing times for night shops and supermarkets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in an effort to reduce late night alcohol sales, while some parks in the city will also be closed from 10pm.

‘We hope young people will act responsibly,’ mayor Peter den Outsten said. ‘They must help to keep the virus in check,’ he said, or other ‘more draconian measures’ will be imposed.

The public health institute RIVM will publish its latest weekly round-up on Tuesday afternoon.

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