The Belgian Health Authority said 6,187 patients were admitted on Thursday, while 1,057 people are currently in intensive care. Belgium recorded a peak of 1,285 intensive care patients at the height of its first Covid-19 wave in April.
The head of Zorgnet-Icuro -- a network of 775 hospitals, care homes and health facilities across the country -- told CNN that the situation was now "absolutely critical."
In the last two weeks an average of 484 people have been hospitalized daily in the country.
"There is absolutely no time to lose to prevent a total crash of our health care system,” Zorgnet-Icuro CEO Margot Cloet told CNN Friday. “The united Belgian hospitals plead very strongly for a reinforced lockdown."
Probably within a week, we will reach the maximum capacity of intensive care beds."
And it's not just beds Belgium is running short of, it's health workers as well.
Liege, the country's third largest city, has the highest incidence rate in Belgium and health workers in some of its hospitals have been asked to continue working even if they test positive for Covid-19 -- as long as they are not showing any symptoms of the disease.
The communications director of Liege University Hospital, Louis Maraite, told CNN on Tuesday that because of staff shortages, the hospital had "no choice" but to ask nurses who tested positive with no symptoms to work on a voluntary basis.
Maraite estimated that 5% to 10% of nurses at the hospital were currently infected with Covid-19, but most of them are off work, at home.
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