While only a small proportion of COVID-19 patients need to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), that can still be a lot of patients and ICU capacity is limited. There must, of course, also be space in the ICU for people with critical injuries or other life-threatening conditions. The figures on COVID-19 patients in ICUs are important because they tell us if there are enough ICU beds for all patients.
This article explains the figures on daily ICU admissions on the dashboard. See that page for current figures.
The number of daily ICU admissions on the dashboard is the average number of admissions over seven days (rolling average). The daily numbers can fluctuate and taken individually can give an inconsistent picture of the situation. We therefore use a seven-day rolling average because it gives a better overview of the general trend. Because it is an average, it isn’t always a whole number – we round to the nearest tenth.
There are often reporting delays of a few days for ICU admissions, so we don’t yet know today exactly how many people were admitted yesterday. Because data for the most recent days is incomplete, the seven-day rolling average is calculated using the figures from 4 to 10 days ago.
This number shows how many ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. It is followed by the percent of ICU beds that are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Please note that this percentage says nothing about the maximum ICU capacity, as there is no fixed maximum number of beds. Total ICU capacity at any given time depends on several factors, including the number of ICU doctors and nurses available. If they are ill or in self-quarantine, then fewer ICU beds will be available.
The graph ‘ICU admissions over time’ shows how the number of ICU admissions per day has evolved since the pandemic broke out in the Netherlands in March 2020.
The graph ‘ICU admissions per age group over time’ shows the number of people per 1,000,000 in each age group who were admitted to the ICU over time. Calculating these rates per 1,000,000 allows us to compare age groups.
The figures in the graph ‘ICU bed occupancy over time’ are visible from 1 June 2020 onwards. In other words, the first wave is not visible, but the second wave is.