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Increasing coronavirus numbers: German hospitals could face bed capacity shortages

Increasing coronavirus numbers : German hospitals could face bed capacity shortages

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to climb in Germany, with no end in sight. Doctors expect to see significantly more patients in intensive care units.

According to experts, the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Germany means that hospitals could be facing bed capacity shortages.

"We are preparing for a new wave of seriously ill patients," said Susanne Herold, head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Giessen University Hospital, at a joint press conference with German Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) in Berlin on Thursday. Currently, 470 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units in Germany. The doctors expect a significant increase in this number.

Hospitals are now charged with creating more rooms to take in new patients. It could be that elective operations, i.e. operations that are not so urgent, would have to be cancelled, said Herold. But Spahn pointed out that regional management of intensive care bed capacity is better now than it was at the beginning of the pandemic. He added that it would not be necessary to postpone elective procedures in general. The chairman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, said the current number of available intensive care beds in Germany was 8,500. There is also an emergency reserve of 12,000 beds.

Herold said it was a general expectation in the medical field that the number of infections would continue to rise significantly in the near future. By Thursday alone, the number of new coronavirus infections in Germany had skyrocketed to more than 4,000 within one day.

Gassen emphasized, however, that the majority of the cases were marked by mild symptoms. But in view of the rising overall figures, Herold also said: "We are preparing for a new wave of patients who are seriously ill.”

Herold also explained that, compared to the beginning of the pandemic, several effective therapies have been added that could mitigate the course of the disease. This is because we know more about the disease - for example, that vascular infections can also occur. So now more anticoagulants are being used. Herold also said that Remdesivir was being used to treat COVID-19 patients in Germany. It had also been used by U.S. President Donald Trump.

(Orig. text: dpa; Translation: ck)