The coronavirus in Belgium leads to launching a real cry of distress and an unprecedented call for help, launched for nursing homes in Wallonia. They can no longer cope with the epidemic. Many staff members are absent, sick. Faced with this situation, the Walloon government requests the help of the army, civil protection but also of all the people who can bring their support. Walloon Minister of Health Christie Morreale was the guest of the Matinale de Bel RTL this Thursday to talk about it. She answered questions from Fabrice Grosfilley.
Faced with the deterioration of the situation in an increasing number of rest homes, Wallonia has decided to request support from the army and civil protection. It is also launching an appeal to all medical and paramedical staff in hospitals, medical houses, mutual societies, school medicine, PMS, Inami, etc. available to help the teams in place in these institutions, said Wednesday evening the spokeswoman for the Walloon Minister of Health Christie Morreale (PS). According to the Minister, these measures are justified by the urgency of the situation in this sector which “requires far-reaching measures”. There are currently 116 Walloon nursing homes with a cluster of Covid-19 [un foyer comprenant dix cas de coronavirus ou plus, ndlr] out of a total of 600. “The situation requires that we mobilize all possible help to try to respond to the situation, to the spread of the disease, to the speed at which the virus is spreading in nursing homes”, said the minister in the Matinale de Bel RTL this Thursday at 7.15 am.
“You have to consider all possible help”
The Walloon Minister of Health yesterday met with the governors of the 5 provinces of Wallonia. They are asked to mobilize civil protection and the army. “For logistics, but not only. Today, nursing homes work with caregivers who give everything they can, but who are exhausted. We are faced with a virus which can have fatal consequences, and therefore we must consider all possible aids, medicalization which is much more important than it is today, so we must bring in doctors when necessary in nursing homes, to come in support to the nursing assistants, to be able to take care of the sick. We also make a wide appeal to all the doctors, to all the paramedical staff, who today are not acutely occupied in the covid crisis, to come as reinforcement in nursing homes “.
In Brussels, already yesterday, the army was sent to reinforce a rest home in Jette to take care of some seventy residents.
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These soldiers and civil defense men will face the same problem as the staff in nursing homes: they will also need masks, gloves. Are we going to be able to manage all this? “Masks, we systematically distribute them in nursing homes, we distributed surgical masks several weeks ago and systematically when there are clusters, we bring FFP2 masks, which are above the sciensano standard for nursing homes, to make sure the staff is adequately covered. In terms of logistics, I think we have to wait and see what each nursing home needs, and we have to Sometimes you have to do cohorting, that is, putting sick people on one side and healthy carriers on the other, to try to keep the disease from spreading. indeed, the army will be able to come to the aid because the personnel does not have the time to be able to do it. One can imagine that men must be disinfected. In this case, the army could come to reinforce if c ‘is necessary”.
“Anyone who thinks they can be helpful, wave”
The Minister of Health therefore called for a general mobilization for nursing homes facing clusters or in severe shortage of staff. The Walloon Region therefore asks all medical and paramedical staff in hospitals, medical houses, mutual societies, school medicine, PMS, Inami, etc. available to help the teams in place. “All those who, in a certain way, think in a certain way that they can be useful, signal, we have a site called https://solidaire.aviq.be/, on which they can register, and therefore concretely, they can be useful during this crisis, in rest homes but also in accommodation centers for people with disabilities or mental health, since they are sometimes the forgotten, the situation is less critical, but you have to be careful. We can see that when the disease comes in, it’s difficult to prevent its spread, so we must not forget these areas, no more, “said the minister this morning on Bel RTL.
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Various ministerial meetings have taken place on the subject and will resume this Thursday morning in this “race against the clock” which begins. The operation is carried out in collaboration with MSF, the Red Cross, the medical centers, AVIQ and Doctors of the world. A hundred people should be active by the end of this week, according to spokesperson for Morreale. Still according to the spokesperson, these mobile teams would come as reinforcements to nursing homes facing the pandemic and / or lack of staff. More immediately, the Walloon Region requests support from the army and civil protection. A meeting with the five provincial governors was organized late Wednesday to activate this emergency logistics. This should allow, in the immediate future, to top up in nursing homes where this is necessary, in the areas of catering, cohorting residents according to their state of health, and disinfecting the premises.
“It was essential”
For the group leader cdH Catherine Fonck, who was the guest at 7.50 am from the Matinale de Bel RTL, this reinforcement was “essential”. She explains that she herself registered – she is a doctor – on the solidarity platform.