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COVID-19

Covid surge: The German districts running out of intensive care beds

The number of Covid patients being admitted to intensive care units across Germany is rising - and 33 districts have run out of free beds. Here's a look at the situation in hospitals.

An intensive care station in Leipzig on November 8th.
An intensive care station in Leipzig on November 8th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Waltraud Grubitzsch

German hospitals and medics are struggling due to the number of Covid-19 patients needing treatment. 

Some intensive care units are already full, while other hospitals are having to cancel planned operations in order to divert staff to critical wards. 

The latest data shows about 14 percent of intensive care beds are still available nationwide. And in 33 districts not a single bed is free. In some regions, more than 50 percent of the beds in ICUs are occupied by Covid-19 patients, illustrating why medical staff have been raising the alarm. 

The DIVI intensive care register reported about 3,280 Covid 19 patients in intensive care units across Germany on Monday. This makes up around 15 percent of the occupied ICU beds.

For comparison, around 1,768 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care wards across Germany on October 27th. 

Of the Covid patients in German ICUs, just over 50 percent require ventilation treatment.

The nationwide hospitalisation incidence stands at 4.96 Covid patients per 100,000 people. The highest hospitalisation incidence was around 15.5 and was recorded in the second wave in Christmas time last year. 

Most of the districts where intensive care beds are running out are in Bavaria, which declared a state of emergency last week and has tightened its Covid rules to try and control the spread. 

READ ALSO: 2G rules – How Bavaria is tightening restrictions on the unvaccinated

The map by the Robert Koch Institute shows the situation regarding free intensive care beds in Germany. The areas coloured red are critical. Screenshot: RKI

Medical experts have been warning that patients in some ares are at times having to wait for hours to receive treatment, or have to try another hospital. 

SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach said he predicted that in the coming weeks people will have to be flown by helicopter to other federal states to receive intensive care treatment. 

“With the number of cases we have at the moment, hospitals across the country will reach capacity in the first two weeks of December,” Lauterbach said.

In total, around 21,344 of the 24,796 intensive care beds in Germany are currently occupied.

According to the DIVI register, these are the districts in Germany that do not have any free intensive care beds:

Aichach-Friedberg district (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 13 out of 13
Covid patients: 38.5 percent – 5
of which are ventilated: 4

Alzey-Worms (Rhineland-Palatinate)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 7 out of 7
Covid patients: 0 percent – 0

Augsburg (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 12 of 12
Covid patients: 66.7 percent – 8
Of which are ventilated: 2

Berchtesgadener Land district (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 18 of 18
Covid patients: 22.2 percent – 4
Of which are ventilated: 3

Biberach (Baden-Württemberg)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 16 of 16
Covid patients: 31.3 percent – 5
Of which are ventilated: 3

Cham (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 15 of 15
Covid patients: 66.7 percent – 10
Of which are ventilated: 5

Dachau (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 per cent – 18 of 18
Covid patients: 22.2 per cent – 4
Of which are ventilated: 3

Darmstadt-Dieburg (Hesse)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 26 of 26
Covid patients: 38.5 percent – 10
Of which are ventilated: 8

Dillingen an der Donau (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 27 of 27
Covid patients: 37 percent – 10
Of which are ventilated: 4

Ebersberg (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 18 of 18
Covid patients: 33.3 percent – 6
Of which are ventilated: 2

City district Frankfurt (Oder)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 12 of 12
Covid patients: 41.7 percent – 5
Of which are ventilated: 3

Freudenstadt (Baden-Württemberg)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 6 of 6
Covid patients: 33.3 percent – 2
Of which are ventilated: 0

Fürstenfeldbruck (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 10 out of 10
Covid patients: 50 percent – 5
Of which are ventilated: 4

City district of Gera (Thuringia)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 44 out of 44
Covid patients: 38.6 percent – 17
Of which are ventilated: 5

Gifhorn (Lower Saxony)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 12 of 12
Covid patients: 33.3 percent – 4
Of which are ventilated: 3

Greiz (Thuringia)

Occupied beds: 100 per cent – 10 out of 10
Covid patients: 30 per cent – 3
Of which are ventilated: 2

Kelheim (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 14 out of 14
Covid patients: 50 percent – 7
Of which are ventilated: 2

Kitzingen (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 8 of 8
Covid patients: 37.5 percent – 3
Of which are ventilated: 0

Haßberge (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 6 of 6
Covid patients: 66.7 percent – 4
Of which are ventilated: 1

Hildburghausen (Thuringia)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 6 of 6
Covid patients: 66.7 percent – 4
Of which are ventilated: 4

Hochtaunuskreis district (Hesse)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 24 of 24
Covid patients: 16.7 percent – 4
Of which are ventilated: 3

Lüchow-Dannenberg (Lower Saxony)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 7 of 7
Covid patients: 28.6 percent – 2
Of which are ventilated: 2

Mainz-Bingen (Rhineland-Palatinate)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 12 of 12
Covid patients: 8.3 percent – 1
Of which are ventilated: 0

Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 22 of 22
Covid patients: 40.9 percent – 9
Of which are ventilated: 5

Osterholz (Lower Saxony)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 10 out of 10
Covid patients: 30 percent – 3
Of which are ventilated: 2

Rastatt (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 10 out of 10
Covid patients: 0 percent – 0

Saale-Orla (Thuringia)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 3 of 3
Covid patients: 0 percent – 0

Schwabach (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 5 of 5
Covid patients: 40.0 percent – 2
Of which are ventilated: 0

Sömmerda (Thuringia)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 4 out of 4
Covid patients: 25 percent – 1
Of which are ventilated: 1

Unterallgäu (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 14 of 14
Covid patients: 57.1 percent – 8
Of which are ventilated: 5

Neu-Ulm (Bavaria)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 18 of 18
Covid patients: 44.4 percent – 8
Of which are ventilated: 2

Waldshut (Baden-Württemberg)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 10 out of 10
Covid patients: 20 percent – 2
Of which are ventilated: 1

Wittmund (Lower Saxony)

Occupied beds: 100 percent – 8 out of 8
Covid patients: 0 percent – 0

Please keep in mind that these figures can change rapidly. 

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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