Corona pandemic: Number of Covid 19 intensive care patients back in four digits

Number of Covid 19 intensive care patients back in four digits

In the Asklepios Klinik Altona in Hamburg, a nurse pushes a patient through the airlock into the operating room. Photo: picture alliance / Christian Charisius/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

The number of people seriously ill with Corona has not been this high for weeks. So far, however, intensive care physicians have only seen moderate overall growth in occupancy in hospitals.

The number of seriously ill people being treated with Covid-19 in intensive care units in Germany has risen to 1,000. This emerges from the daily report of the intensive care register of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

This number of patients has not been that high since mid-May. For comparison: In December 2021, almost 4900 seriously ill Covid 19 cases were treated at the same time, after which the values ​​fell with intermittent plateau phases.

Christian Karagiannidis, a member of the Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council, explained on request that in the intensive care units there was a trend towards an increase in the daily number of new admissions and an increase in occupancy to 1000 – “however, the overall increase so far has been moderate”. According to the scientific director of the Divi intensive care register, around 50 percent of the patients requiring intensive care need respiratory support in the form of oxygen or ventilation. At its peak, before the spread of the omicron variant, it was over 80 percent.

Seven-day incidence also increased

The RKI gave the official nationwide seven-day incidence on Saturday morning as 696.5. A week ago there were 632.9 new infections within seven days and 100,000 inhabitants. However, experts assume that there are many unrecorded cases – due to late registrations, transmission problems and because not all infected people have a PCR test done, with which they are statistically recorded.

Karagiannidis said that there is currently a very high infection burden in the population, which is clearly underestimated over the seven-day incidence. For example, samples from wastewater monitoring in individual cities showed a much greater increase than the incidence. “At the same time, the incidence of hospitalization is increasing, but we do not know whether Covid-19 is the main or secondary diagnosis of the patients,” says the expert.

According to Karagiannidis, some hospitals reported more pneumonia in the normal wards under the influence of the omicron subtype BA.5 and the subline BA.4, which have been dominant for some time. This fits with animal studies, according to which the two lines affect the lungs a little more than the previously dominant subtypes BA.1 and BA.2.

No summer effect due to variant BA.5

“The spread of the very contagious omicron subvariant BA.5 is currently canceling out the seasonal summer effect, so that we are seeing a high infection load in Germany and many other European countries,” explained intensive care physician Stefan Kluge from the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf on request. He also referred to a high number of unreported cases. In his view, the hospital burden of seriously ill Covid-19 patients is “still moderate”.

The main problem for the hospitals at the moment, however, is the relatively high loss of staff due to Sars-CoV-2-infected employees, according to Kluge. “Due to the existing staff shortages, more beds have to be blocked again in some hospitals and services have to be restricted.” But he is even more worried about autumn and winter: “Here it will be decisive how many of the risk patients can still be vaccinated and how the virus will continue to develop in terms of possible new variants.”


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