Health officials want Covid-19 ICU beds to become permanent

In Brazil’s public health system, clinical and intensive care beds opened temporarily during the Covid-19 pandemic are now being closed, due to a falling number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. However, even before the crisis, public health units around the country already required new ICU beds and health secretaries are demanding that part of the Covid-19 health infrastructure now be made permanent. 

According to the Health Ministry, of the 14,843 adult ICU beds authorized since April, just over one-third (5.233) are still active. State and municipal secretaries are now trying to convince the Health Ministry to maintain at least 5,000 ICU beds in regions where this service has always been lacking, according to newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

A Federal Council of Medicine survey showed that 14 Brazilian states — predominantly in the North and Northeast regions — have less than the ideal number of intensive care beds, ranging from just 1 to 3 for every 10,000 inhabitants.

Brazil’s public health system serves almost 80 percent of the population, yet in January 2020, the network had a total of 22,841 ICU beds. On the other hand, there were 22,586 beds on the private system, which treats a much smaller percentage.