Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

German hospitals under pressure amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Health authorities report nearly 20,000 infections for 1st time since May, hospitalizations, deaths continue to climb

Ayhan Şimşek   | 22.10.2021
German hospitals under pressure amid spike in COVID-19 cases File Photo

BERLIN 

Germany’s coronavirus cases are rising rapidly and putting hospitals under enormous strain, authorities warned on Friday.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 19,572 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily figure since May.

It confirmed 116 coronavirus-related fatalities on Thursday, up from 65 deaths reported on the same day last week.

The number of hospitalizations and seriously ill patients also reached to critical levels, according to the institute.

Some 725 new patients with COVID-19 were admitted to hospitals on Thursday, up from 558 on Wednesday.

Currently 1,541 seriously ill coronavirus patients are receiving treatment in intensive care units (ICUs), with 846 of them on mechanical ventilators, according to official data.

The RKI warned that the infections are likely to increase in the coming weeks.

“The rise in case numbers is expected to accelerate more in the course of autumn and winter,” experts said in their weekly report.

Meanwhile, the DIVI association for emergency medicine reported a significant decrease in the ICU bed capacity, largely due to staff shortage.

As of Thursday, almost 87.5% of all ICU beds were already occupied, according to the DIVI.

“In the coming period, we may face apparent shortcomings in the medical care system,” Prof. Uwe Janssens of DIVI said.

German hospitals currently maintain nearly 22,200 ICU beds, down from 26,500 at the beginning of this year. Staff shortage remains a serious problem, as many care workers were exhausted and quit their jobs during the pandemic.

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