I am not going to belabor this point any longer, and conclude the topic here with presenting more evidence that the “Swiss hospital are running out of ICU beds” story in the news media is completely false (fake news!).
Hospital are running at a high occupancy, yes, but the ICU-bed capacity is adapted as needed and changes from day to day.
This can can be seen directly from the data provided by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) by everyone who cares to actually look at the daily numbers and compare them for several days.
Here are the numbers from December 1 and December 2, 2021:
It’s easy to see that for Switzerland, numbers are actually slightly down from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2:
- Total ICU beds have gone up by +1 (but that’s still 4 less than on Nov. 30);
- The total occupancy has gone down by -7 beds;
- COVID-19 patients has gone up by +9, while Non-COVID-19 patients has gone down by -14 beds;
- Free ICU has gone up by +8 beds
Occupancy is at 81.2% on December 2, which is -0.9% compared to December 1. On November 30, it was 81.1%, but there were 863 ICU beds that day.
So, it’s again obvious, that giving the number “ICU beds are x% occupied” is highly misleading, as the total number, the “100%” changes from day to day.
It’s also easy to see that the situation in Zurich has improved from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2:
- Total number of beds has stayed the same, at 183 beds;
- Total occupancy has gone down by -9 beds;
- COVID-19 patients occupancy has gone down by -1 beds;
- Non-COVID-19 patients occupancy has gone down by -8 beds;
- Free ICU beds has gone up +9 beds
So in conclusion, we can see from the numbers, that hospital ICU-beds, are managed on an “as-needed” basis. They are activated and deactivated as the situation requires, and hospitals are not interested in running a high-number of unoccupied ICU-beds, just to keep the statistics nice. Of course, there is a maximum number to which ICU-beds can be increased, but has that been reached yet? We don’t know and are not told in any statistics.
The real limiting factor is staff-availability, not number of physical beds, by the way. But curiously, for that, we don’t see any statistics, and we also are not told, what is done to alleviate the pressure on the medical staff.