Overloaded intensive care units: The first corona patients are being relocated

Status: 25.11.2021 8:17 p.m.

The situation in the clinics is getting worse in many places. Because of the overload in the intensive care units, corona patients have now been brought from Thuringia to Lower Saxony. Saxony and Bavaria are also preparing relocations.

The first intensive care patients with Covid-19 have been relocated from Thuringia to Lower Saxony on the basis of the so-called cloverleaf concept. A rescue helicopter landed with a patient from Suhl in southern Thuringia in the early evening at the Siloah Clinic in Hanover, confirmed Steffen Ellerhoff, press spokesman for the Hanover Region Clinic, and a spokesman for the Suhl Central Clinic for the dpa news agency.

According to observations by a dpa reporter, a second patient was driven to the clinic a short time later in a so-called intensive care vehicle from Suhl. According to the Suhl Central Hospital, both patients are ventilated Covid-19 patients.

According to the Thuringian intensive coordinator Michael Bauer, further relocations to Lower Saxony are to follow on Friday. Among other things, patients from Eisenach and Bad Langensalza should come to Hildesheim. A move from Saalfeld to Hanover is also planned. According to a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, eight Thuringian patients are currently planned for a transfer.

Nine federal states accept intensive care patients

Thuringia, along with Bavaria and Saxony, is one of the federal states most severely affected by the fourth corona wave. As of today, the three countries are preparing for the transfer of a total of 54 Covid 19 patients to intensive care units in currently less affected areas in northern and western Germany. The patients who are medically eligible for a transfer were said to have been selected on Wednesday. 30 of them come from Bavaria, 10 from Thuringia and 14 from Saxony.

As the responsible working group of the Conference of Interior Ministers announced, hospitals in Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland agreed to accept patients.

Laying according to the clover leaf principle

Previously, applications for relocation according to the so-called clover leaf concept had been examined for a total of around 80 sufferers. The concept adopted in 2020 as a result of the corona pandemic provides for the relocation to initially take place within five regions – west, north, east, south, south-west. If there are not enough free places in the intensive care units in one of these regions, the transfer to other areas will also be organized.

The beginning of the transfer had already been expected: “The first transfers of this so far largest intensive transfer operation in Germany will probably take place today after the contact between the receiving and the receiving clinics”, it said after a meeting of the steering committee. According to the state health minister Petra Köpping (SPD), the first patient transfers are imminent in Saxony.

The shamrock concept

The cloverleaf concept adopted in 2020 stipulates that the installation will initially take place within five regions – west, north, east, south, and southwest. If there are no longer any vacancies in one of these regions, the transfer to other areas will be organized in exchange with the joint reporting and situation center of the federal and state governments at the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK). The Federal Office and the Federal Ministries of the Interior and Defense were also invited to the special meeting of the health ministers.

Bavaria’s clinics warn of unprecedented emergency

In Bavaria, the clinics fear a hitherto unprecedented emergency in supply with a view to the end of the year. The transfer of patients to other federal states will only provide a short-term remedy, warns Roland Engehausen, the managing director of the Bavarian Hospital Society. “All forecasts point in the direction that the number of patients will continue to rise and that we in Bavaria do not have sufficient intensive care capacities,” he told the dpa. “The currently still available intensive capacities in the north will only be able to help us for a few weeks because the occupancy is increasing there too.”

Currently, a double-digit number of additional intensive care patients is admitted to the clinics every day, on Wednesday alone there were over 40. “We have to reduce the number of newly infected people in Bavaria,” said Engehausen. “Otherwise, between Christmas and New Years, we’ll end up in a drama that has never happened before.”

Air Force prepares flights for Friday

In Cologne, the Air Force has two aircraft ready for an aid mission to relocate intensive care patients. This includes the Airbus A310 MedEvac, the flying intensive care unit, as well as a converted special machine, the surveillance aircraft A319OH. An Air Force spokesman said two places for intensive treatment were built into this the day before. The Airbus A310 MedEvac has six intensive places.

According to information from the dpa, the Bundeswehr is preparing the start of the transfer flights on Friday. Accordingly, there are plans on the table that provide for a transport from the Bavarian airport of Memmingen to North Rhine-Westphalia. A landing at Münster-Osnabrück Airport is planned.

“It is very clear to us that it is very, very serious”

Due to the worsening corona situation in large parts of Germany, planned operations are to be postponed nationwide according to the will of the federal and state health ministers. This is already the case in many federal states.

The chairman of the conference of health ministers, Bavaria’s head of department Klaus Holetschek, reported after a switching conference that the states had agreed on this. It also needs flat rates for the clinics if they keep intensive care beds and clinic staff free for Covid 19 patients.

“It is very clear to all of us that it is very, very serious,” said Holetschek of the news agency (dpa). There is great solidarity between all federal states, emphasized the CSU politician. Holetschek thanked the countries that are now accepting patients from other parts of the country.


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