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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 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

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