Emergency rooms are already closed at times, operating rooms are closing, clinic staff are absent: the corona summer wave is worrying doctors and patients alike. The current figures show where there are bottlenecks in the intensive care units and how things can continue. The overview of the hospitals.

What many are only expecting for the fall is already becoming apparent: it will be tight in the hospitals. The reason: the current summer wave. It is already causing serious bottlenecks regionally. This is not because the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which are now dominant, make people more seriously ill than the previous omicron variants. This has not yet been proven, even if there are first indications of it. Rather, the cause is that they are spreading so rapidly and that, as a result, many people are absent from work. Everyone knows that from colleagues, friends or relatives. And it affects the hospital staff in the same way – and makes them painfully aware again: Where staffing has always been scarce, it is now becoming extremely scarce due to staff shortages.

“We have received reports from all federal states that individual wards and departments have to be deregistered due to a lack of staff,” said the CEO of the German Hospital Society (DKG), Gerald Gaß, the editorial network Germany. At times, emergency admissions would also be canceled at the rescue control centers. “This situation is of great concern to us as autumn approaches.” !function(){var t=window.addEventListener?”addEventListener”:”attachEvent”;(0,window[t])(“attachEvent”==t? “onmessage”:”message”,function(t){if(“string”==typeof t.data

Timo Ulrichs, infection epidemiologist from the Akkon Hochschule Berlin, sees it similarly in an exchange with FOCUS Online. “If we go into autumn with a high number of newly infected people, the expected further wave of the pandemic in the autumn-winter season threatens to be followed by the summer wave,” warns the expert. This could result in very high numbers of serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

In the Nuremberg Clinic, currently plannable, non-essential operations have to be postponed, as “BR24” reports. Every day there are employees who cannot come to work because of a Covid infection or for other reasons. Due to the corona, the hospital staff were usually absent for one to two weeks, sometimes three weeks, or their performance was limited. The surgical planning is limited overall in the third year of Corona: the hospital explains that there are about 15 percent less surgical capacities than before the pandemic.

Similar reports are spreading across the country. One station in the Erding Clinic is completely closed, other stations can only work to a limited extent. In some places, corona positives are even put together with other patients because there are no rooms. The University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH) is currently reporting a sharp increase in employees with Covid at both locations. “Likewise, as across the country, the number of patients in the emergency department and in inpatient care has increased significantly. Significantly more patients with and because of a corona infection have to be treated at great expense in addition to the already high general number of patients in the emergency room.

Various wards and departments would be closed across the country and clinics would try to keep the situation under control through “internal reorganization”. The staff should not go on business trips, the statement said. All capacities are currently needed in the clinics and emergency rooms in order to be able to treat relevant acute diseases with the available staff.

There is no comprehensive overview of Germany for emergency admissions similar to the intensive care register of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI). Anyone driving an ambulance is informed by the control center when an emergency room is closed – they are then logged off. In other words, the ambulance or emergency doctor has to go to the nearest emergency room.

But the German Society for Interdisciplinary Emergency and Acute Medicine (DGINA) has taken on this: “The data from the Corona emergency room traffic light closes the gap in the presentation of the current situation of care capacities between intensive care medicine and outpatient care. This provides a more comprehensive overview of the burden on emergency rooms throughout Germany,” says the website. The number of participating emergency rooms is still manageable at 46. But the traffic light provides an important facet for the Corona situation there. They cover almost ten percent of the population. Almost 20 percent are currently reporting an overload, 36 percent a significantly increased utilization.

The proportion of emergency rooms with staff absences due to Covid-19 is also listed. The level here in July is already higher than in June.

The trend in intensive care units was still downwards until mid-June. But since then the number of Covid 19 cases has increased slightly. This is reported by the intensive register (Divi). For the first time in weeks, the number of Covid 19 intensive care patients is now in four digits again. !function(){var t=window.addEventListener?”addEventListener”:”attachEvent”;(0,window[t])(“attachEvent”==t?”onmessage”:”message”,function(t){if (“string”==typeof t.data

The scientific head of the intensive care bed register, Christian Karagiannidis, told the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post”: “The intensive care occupancy is only increasing moderately, but the occupancy for a summer is relatively high, and the available beds are becoming fewer and fewer due to the lack of staff.”

However, the main problem is also here: There is a considerable restriction in supply due to staff shortages. “The limits of growth have not only been reached, but significantly exceeded,” warns the lung specialist on Twitter. ” This leads to the lowest level of operable intensive care beds .”

Which patients are in intensive care? Karagiannidis describes: “About 50 percent need lung support, 50 percent don’t. In the variants before

A report on everyday life in corona intensive care units

Since spring, the German Hospital Society (DKG) has published an important corona indicator and provides information on how many hospital beds are occupied by Covid 19 patients. “This is the data from the previous day, since some of the country-specific data sources only publish the occupancy data with a day’s delay,” writes the DKG on the time delay. However, it may be several days before the figures are published.

However, one thing is clear: According to the DKG data, the trend of significantly increasing occupancy numbers is continuing: “Compared to the previous week, the occupancy numbers of patients who tested positive for corona on a normal ward increased by 14.6 percent”. The numbers have increased the most in Thuringia (around 39 percent), Bremen (around 36 percent) and Berlin (around 31 percent). The proportion of people treated with Covid-19 has not decreased in any federal state. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania remains a blank spot on the Corona map, so to speak. Because since June 1, 2022, the occupancy figures are no longer collected there and are therefore no longer included in the nationwide results. !function(){var t=window.addEventListener?”addEventListener”:”attachEvent”;(0,window[t])(“attachEvent”==t?”onmessage”:”message”,function(t){if (“string”==typeof t.data

The appeal of the clinics is clear: only those who really need emergency care should come to the emergency room. At the same time, everyone should remember the usual protective measures (AHA L) and take Corona seriously (again).

Ralf Reintjes, epidemiologist at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, also emphasized this when asked by FOCUS Online. It is said so often that we have to learn to live with the virus. “That doesn’t mean we can ignore the virus and go back to business as usual. Living with the virus means avoiding unnecessary risks and thereby protecting yourself and others. One important area is the wearing of masks in (public) indoor spaces.

With a view to the infection process in autumn, this means that we as a society should have learned from the last 2.5 years and from the current summer wave. And adds: “It is important that we contain the spread of the virus in the good season for us in order to avoid even greater social impairments for the third autumn and winter.” This is the only way to prevent further major social costs.

For Karagiannidis, now is the time to optimally distribute capacities. “This includes regional networks for the best possible distribution of patients according to the level of care,” said the lung specialist, who also sits on the Federal Government’s Expert Council. “Cooperation, but also relieving the staff, will be the order of the day this autumn and winter.”

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