POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Covid-19 pushed ICU beds to 45% of capacity



The CHL hospital in Luxembourg-Belair, pictured, is one of four hospitals in the country that treated covid-19 patients Maison Moderne archives

The CHL hospital in Luxembourg-Belair, pictured, is one of four hospitals in the country that treated covid-19 patients Maison Moderne archives

Data published by health minister Paulette Lenert responding to a parliamentary question on Monday show that there were 10-15 covid-19 patients in each of the four hospital’s ICU wards during the crisis peak in mid-April. In regular care sections, non-covid-19 patients occupied up to 18% of hospital bed capacity.

The number of patients treated by the four each month fell during the first wave, because non-urgent care was postponed. Lenert wrote that 8,232 patients were treated in January, and 7,869 in February, compared with 6,390, in March, 4,490 in April and 5,652 in May.

For context, the first case of covid-19 was reported in Luxembourg on 29 March, the World Health Organization announced the covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on 12 March and Luxembourg closed bars, restaurants and non-essential shops, also known as lockdown, from 16 March.

The data is based on invoices submitted to the national health service, the CNS, and therefore remains approximate until all invoices are submitted. But, first analysis suggests there was around a 30% drop in patient numbers at these hospitals during lockdown.

At the same time, hospitals that did not treat covid-19 patients saw an increase in treatment of the elderly. The hospital in Wiltz, for instance, saw occupancy of its rehabilitation services reach 95%. This, Lenert suggested, was because care homes closed their rehab services in a bid to avoid spreading coronavirus. Lenert continued by saying that activity was still ramping up and had not “yet reached pre-crisis levels.”

Experts continue to analyse data from the crisis period to better understand and anticipate a second wave, the minister said.