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Hospitals in Germany risk seeing ICU beds as full as they were at the height of the pandemic. Coronavirus infections and hospitalizations have spiked in recent days.
The German Hospital Association (DKG) warned on Thursday that the country had entered a "critical pandemic situation" as COVID-19 patients swap hospitals.
Hospitals reported a 40% increase in occupied beds in normal wards compared to one week ago, and there has been a 15% uptick in patients requiring intensive care.
"If this development continues, we will have 3,000 patients in intensive care again in just two weeks," Gerard Gass, board chairman of DKG, told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland news group.
"Even if the hospitals could handle it, it would not be possible without constraints on normal operations," Gass added.
When the pandemic peaked in Germany in January 2021, more than 5,700 COVID patients required treatment in an ICU.
Germany's seven-day incidence of infection has been significantly increasing for days.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control reported on Thursday that the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week was 130.2,
The day before, this key barometer was at 118.0, and a week ago it was 85.6.
State health authorities in Germany reported 28,037 new coronavirus infections to the RKI within the past day. A week ago, the figure for new infections was 16,077. There have been 126 deaths due to COVID in the past 24 hours, and a week ago that figure was 67.
Germany's pandemic-related state of emergency, which allows the federal government to enforce health regulations rather than the country's 16 states, is set to expire on November 25. The three parties that will likely form the country's next government do not support extending it, despite a request from regional leaders to do so. State premiers have voiced their concerns that a patchwork of different regulations across Germany will do little to inhibit the spread of the virus.
es/sms (dpa, Reuters)