It has been a few days since someone at the RoMed clinics calculated this purely internally and out of interest: When the Bavarian hospital traffic light, which is supposed to signal when it is time for stricter corona measures, only for the room Rosenheim would apply, then it would not have been green for a long time. This can be felt most directly in the hospitals themselves.
For several days now, intensive care patients have been relocated in Rosenheim, from one of the four RoMed clinics to another or to hospitals outside of the city. Because our own intensive care units are full – so full that the daily surgical program is now based on whether there is still an intensive care bed available in an emergency. The seven-day incidence in the city stands at 239 on Tuesday, the eternal hotspot is once again a pioneer – also now, in the fourth wave.
“We are already noticing that the number of intensive care beds is increasing,” says Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU). As of Tuesday afternoon, 306 people across Bavaria had to be hospitalized for Covid-19 within seven days. A week ago, according to the state government, it was 271. According to the Infection Protection Ordinance, the new hospital traffic light would only turn yellow from a value of 1200 – and trigger a return to the FFP2 mask requirement and new, unspecified contact restrictions. The number of Covid 19 patients treated in intensive care was accordingly higher on this Tuesday (244) than a week earlier (183). The current value corresponds to eight percent of the occupied intensive care beds in Bavaria. At least for the time being, the emergency in the intensive care units is limited to individual regions such as Rosenheim in Upper Bavaria.
For Wolfgang Hierl, the head of the Rosenheim health department, the seven-day incidence continues to be “an important early indicator for the infection rate”. This value has risen from the single-digit range to over 200 in Rosenheim since August 9th. The city and the surrounding district have sent thousands of letters in many different languages to raise awareness of tests and vaccinations, especially those from south-eastern Europe. As after last summer, the number of infections is particularly high among these returnees, and so are the admissions to hospital.
Most recently, 38 of 41 intensive corona patients were unvaccinated
Above all, there is a lack of staff in the intensive care units, says RoMed managing director Jens Deerberg-Wittram. In the case of intensive care patients in Rosenheim, 50 to 60-year-olds now dominate. Most recently, 38 of 41 intensive corona patients were unvaccinated. They are now trying to move everyone who can somehow get from Rosenheim to other houses. The willingness to cooperate is not the same everywhere. There is no longer any way of simply assigning patients to a clinic in an emergency, because the disaster is officially long over. The location doesn’t necessarily make it any better. Because beyond all official traffic light arithmetic of the Free State: In Rosenheim, from Deerberg-Wittram’s point of view, the traffic light has long been the color “dark red”.
Even if the hospital traffic light is currently green across Bavaria: Not only in Rosenheim are there urban and rural districts that currently have high occupancy rates in the intensive care area, so that they are marked with a yellow, if not a red flag in the so-called Divi intensive care register are. These include, for example, the Munich clinics and clinics in Regensburg, Nuremberg, Würzburg, Schweinfurt, Bayreuth, Ingolstadt, Traunstein and Weiden.
Of the currently 3,643 intensive care beds in Bavaria, 3089 were occupied on Tuesday. Apart from regional outliers such as Rosenheim, this is also due to the fact that clinics can now catch up on operations that had to be postponed due to the past corona waves. “At the moment everything is stable,” says Roland Engehausen, the managing director of the Bavarian Hospital Society (BKG), when asked. The occupancy of intensive care beds with Covid 19 patients is increasing. “Fortunately, not explosively,” he emphasizes. His current conclusion: “All in all, we have stable regular operations in the clinics.” So far, according to Engehausen, the Ministry of Health has not approached the hospitals with a request to keep intensive capacities free for severe Covid-19 cases. He hoped that this would not be necessary either.
The state government also has this hope, which – in contrast to other federal states – does not want to define any concrete measures in the event that the hospital traffic light turns red. The Infection Protection Ordinance currently considers “further protective measures” to be necessary for such a scenario, without specifying them. For State Chancellery Florian Herrmann (CSU) it is “not wise to make any concrete regulations for any period that comes at some point”. Instead, the state government wants to first monitor the situation, regionally and according to the affected population groups. “That’s how we learn something new again,” says Herrmann. And with this knowledge, politicians could “react with a much more differentiated set of instruments” should the situation in the clinics deteriorate to such an extent that the traffic light lights up red.
Ruth Waldmann, health policy spokeswoman for the SPD parliamentary group, would like more preparation for a possible red light. She criticizes the fact that it is currently unclear what drastic measures the citizens could then face. Her suspicion: “You obviously don’t want to mess it up with anyone before the federal election.” Health Minister Holetschek is resisting this. He assures: “The virus knows no election campaign.” The state government orientates itself on the “protection of the people, and that is our standard”.
Bavaria wants to stay with 3G at least for the time being – also because of the free voters
While other federal states are switching from the so-called 3-G rule, in which vaccinated, convalescent and tested people have access to certain facilities, to 2 G in some areas of life, Bavaria wants to stay with 3 G, at least for the time being. The question about 2 G only arises “when the traffic light turns red”. Then, however, further restrictions should “not be directed against the vaccinated or recovered”, but “against the unvaccinated”. While CSU Minister Holetschek can imagine moving away from the 3-G rule, the coalition partner, the Free Voters, are still against 2 G. This conflict could be one reason why Bavaria is less decisive here than other countries .
Meanwhile, a nursing home in Rosenheim is again affected by the virus. A good dozen residents are currently infected, five are in hospital. All were vaccinated, in contrast to the staff: of eight infected people, seven were not vaccinated. The RoMed clinics are also using the new opportunities to inquire about the vaccination status of their own employees. The rate, it is said, is well over 80 percent.