Germany coronavirus: Nation risks running out of intensive care beds in Covid crisis

Coronavirus infection numbers hit an all-time record Friday, with nearly 24,000 brand-new daily cases recorded — as well as so did the number of patients inside country’s intensive care units. Official data through the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive as well as Emergency Medicine (DIVI) show of which the number of Covid-19 patients in German intensive care units (ICU) has climbed through 267 on September 21 to 3,615 as of November 20 — a more than 13-fold increase inside space of just two months.
Europe’s largest economy has gotten through the pandemic fairly well for at of which point compared to its neighboring countries. of which in in part due to its high intensive care capacity with 33.9 beds per 100,000 inhabitants; in contrast, Italy has just 8.6. although with Covid cases across the region skyrocketing, even Germany’s healthcare system can be under strain as well as hospitals in some areas are increasingly coming close to their limits.

Germany’s leadership on Friday warned the system could collapse in weeks if the current trajectory continues. “The number of severe cases in intensive patients can be still rising. The number of deaths can be something of which can be not truly being talked about as well as of which remains very high,” said Steffen Seibert, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“We have not yet managed to bring the numbers back to a low level. We have basically only managed to get past the first step so far, of which can be, to stop the strong, steep, exponential increase of infections as well as we are at of which point stable, although our numbers are still very, very high.”

‘Patients deteriorate very quickly’

Michael Oppert, head of intensive care at the Ernst von Bergmann hospital in Potsdam, just outside Berlin, can be equally concerned about the dramatic rise in recent weeks — as well as expects things to get worse.

“We are not at the tip of the wave at of which point, at least as far as I see,” he told a visiting CNN team of which week. “as well as we do have a capacity for a few more patients, although if of which carries on at the speed of which we are experiencing right at of which point I would certainly imagine of which even our hospital, with over 1,000 beds, will come to a point where we have to send patients home or to additional hospitals to get treated.”

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Bettina Schade, chief nurse on the Covid ward inside same hospital, described how the ward has changed over the last few weeks. “The numbers of patients have been increasing. We are getting a lot more patients with varying degrees of illness. Both for the normal Covid ward, although many also come to the emergency unit as well as very quickly have to be put into ICU,” she said. “We are currently experiencing having to put a lot of patients through the normal Covid ward into ICU very quickly because patients deteriorate very quickly.”

of which applies even to many younger patients with severe symptoms, said Tillman Schumacher, a senior infectious disease physician. “We have patients of 30 or 40 years here who are on a ventilator as well as I am not sure if they’ll survive.”

Only two of the 16 ICU beds were vacant as well as the hospital staff was already canceling non-urgent operations to free up capacity — as well as creating plans to convert more of its general intensive care facilities into Covid units.

Dr. Uwe Janssens, head of the DIVI, explained what measures would certainly be taken if the current spike continues. “The regular program of hospitals has to be shut down, a partial closing down of the regular operations as well as admissions of patients which you can delay for several weeks without any strain, they can be delayed. There are people who don’t need an emergency surgery or an emergency catheter or something like of which. They can be delayed. as well as doing of which you get the capacity as well as get the nurses as well as the physicians to help the ICU physicians as well as ICU nurses on their wards.”

After taking into account non-Covid patients, 22,066 intensive care beds inside country were occupied as of November 20, while 6,107 remained vacant. Germany includes a reserve of about 12,000 ICU beds, including field hospital beds at Berlin’s convention center.

Despite the large capacity, health minister Jens Spahn earlier of which month warned of which ICUs could be overwhelmed if daily infection rates continued to rise at the current level. “We are at of which point increasingly seeing a rising burden as well as the threat of being overwhelmed in intensive care, in hospitals as well as at GPs,” he said in an interview with Germany’s state broadcaster ARD.

Germany offers help to additional European countries

as well as of which could be bad news for all of Europe. Until at of which point, Germany has been taking in Covid patients through neighboring countries whose health care systems are overwhelmed.

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The German Foreign Office confirmed to CNN of which during the first wave of the pandemic, between March 21 as well as April 12, 232 patients were transferred to Germany for treatment — 44 of them through Italy, 58 through the Netherlands as well as 130 through France. inside fall too, the federal states of North-Rhine Westphalia as well as Saarland offered spaces to 36 patients — three of them through the Netherlands, 25 through Belgium as well as eight through France, a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

”These patients have a need for intensive medical care,” said Anja Wengenroth, a spokeswoman at University Hospital Muenster in Muenster, North Rhine-Westphalia. Her hospital established a system inside spring whereby Benelux countries — Belgium, the Netherlands as well as Luxembourg — could put in a request for ICU beds, a scheme which can be ongoing. The North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Labor, Health as well as Social Affairs confirmed to CNN of which currently ”46 hospitals have currently agreed to accept foreign Covid-19 patients. There are currently 76 beds on offer.”

Anne Funk, head of the division of cross-border cooperation in Germany’s smallest federal state of Saarland, which borders France, told CNN of which during the first wave of the pandemic, its hospitals took in 32 French patients. At the end of October, Saarland offered France eight beds; three patients have been transferred to date.

“We would certainly like to help wherever we can,” Funk said. “We do not want to differentiate between nationalities. At the moment we still have capacities. We are coordinating with medical as well as local authorities in France on an individual needs basis. We are here to help.”

For at of which point they can continue to do of which, although with Germany’s ICUs filling up quickly, of which’s not clear for how much longer.

Nurses tend to patients inside coronavirus intensive care unit of the University Hospital Dresden, November 13, 2020.

Anti-pandemic protests

Germany has recently seen a string of demonstrations against the country’s anti-pandemic measures, with many protesters denying the severity of the virus.

The country can be in a nationwide partial lockdown which requires restaurant as well as bars to remain closed, people to avoid travel, keep their contacts to an absolute minimum as well as limit public meetings to members of two different households. Schools as well as shops have remained open. German federal as well as state leaders will meet next week to decide on introducing further measures.

Demonstrators put up their hands in front of police officers during a protest against the government's coronavirus restrictions in Berlin, November 18, 2020.

On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered near the parliament in Berlin while lawmakers inside debated plans for greater legal powers to enforce restrictions. Police used water cannon as well as tear gas to disperse protesters, many of whom were not wearing face masks.

of which can be considered a slap inside face by frontline medical staff working hard to keep people alive, like Schade. “I also hear some people I know say things like: of which’s like a flu or can be compared to a regular flu,” the chief nurse said. “We just cannot understand people saying of which! Of course we all hold the fear of which maybe at some point we won’t make of which anymore as well as could have a situation like they had in Italy where patients are outside in cars as well as get treated with oxygen because there’s no more capacity.”

Germany can be still far away through such scenarios although, while there are still thousands of ICU beds available inside country, Oppert had a message of warning about the second wave of the pandemic as well as its dynamic.

“of which can be different, of which can be harder,” he said. “We do tend to see more patients at of which point. Not only here inside Berlin/Potsdam region, in which we have a heavy burden of intensive care patients, although nationwide the numbers are climbing as well as they’re still climbing, they are not coming down at the moment.”

Source : Germany coronavirus: Nation risks running out of intensive care beds in Covid crisis