Intensive care units in the Netherlands may be able to combat coronavirus overload by splitting up ventilation machines and thus helping two patients with one device. This is evident from a manual that the Dutch Association for Intensive Care (NVIC) shared on Wednesday.

The association asks members to review the document and review what departments need to allow equipment splitting. "We hope it doesn't come to that," the association said in a message on their website.

Personnel from the Amsterdam UMC, the Radboudumc and the University of Twente have drawn up the manual. It states that the tubes on the ventilator with special attachments can supply two patients instead of one with oxygen.

The document emphasizes that this is an emergency solution. "Ventilators are not designed or registered for ventilating more than 1 patient at a time. This document is for off-label use."

Currently 644 patients have coronavirus on ICUs

Earlier Wednesday, it was announced that there are currently 644 patients with the COVID-19 virus on intensive care (IC), an increase of 98 compared to Tuesday. This is the fastest absolute increase (18 percent) since the coronavirus outbreak.

On April 1, 1,600 intensive care beds are expected to be required in the Netherlands, while 1,150 will be available. This includes not only patients infected with the coronavirus, but also people with other diseases.

Intensive care departments fear a shortage of beds and equipment, especially in the North Brabant fire. "Brabant has its back to the wall," said Diederik Gommers, chairman of the NVIC, on Wednesday morning.

See also: Wednesday 98 new corona patients on the ICs, an increase of 18 percent

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The coronavirus in short

  • The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
  • You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
  • An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
  • The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
  • Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
  • Read here what precautions you should take.