Covid-19: Hospitals postpone interventions across Austria – Coronavirus Vienna


Interventions are being postponed in almost all countries.
© WHAT / HELMUT FOHRINGER

The coronavirus situation continues to worsen in Austria. Operations in hospitals are being postponed throughout Austria.

The coronavirus situation in Austria continues to worsen. The situation in the intensive care units is particularly critical in eastern Austria. Almost all federal states – with the exception of the west – are already postponing interventions. Elective, i.e. non-urgent, operations do not take place. However, it has not yet been scaled back as much as in the first wave and in the first lockdown a year ago, according to a broadcast in the nine federal states.

Vienna: More Covid-19 patients than ever in the intensive care unit

The situation in the federal capital is particularly difficult, as there are more Covid 19 patients in intensive care units in March than ever since the beginning of the pandemic. In the city hospitals, the week before they began to outsource non-urgent, plannable operations to religious or private hospitals. If this is not possible, appointments will be postponed. In addition, more available beds will be created.

According to the State Health Agency, the situation in Lower Austria is “tense” with the available intensive care bed capacities. To ensure that the intensive care bed capacities required to maintain emergency care are available, individual non-urgent operations are being postponed. The necessary human resources are available, it said.

Numerous operations that are not urgently required are currently being postponed in Burgenland. Both in the four KRAGES hospitals (Burgenländische Krankenanstalten-GmbH) and in the hospital of the Barmherzige Brüder in Eisenstadt, the aim is to keep the capacities free for severe Covid-19 cases as well as emergencies and acute operations. The situation in the intensive care units in Burgenland is serious, beds and staff are increasingly reaching their limits, according to hospital operators. In the APA conversation, KRAGES stated that it was already in contact with other federal states in order to sound out the possibilities of transferring patients.

Urgent interventions continue to be made

“There are always situations where elective interventions are postponed,” said Carinthia’s intensive care coordinator Rudolf Likar to the APA. Every urgent intervention is made, planned interventions have to be postponed again and again in order to have enough intensive care beds for acute cases – currently this happens “occasionally”. Likar: “There are always days when we reach our limits, then operations that are planned for the next day are put on hold.” There are currently 16 corona intensive care patients in the hospitals in Carinthia. Two or three patients from other federal states could be admitted at the moment, according to Likar’s assessment.

As of March 3, 145 operations have been canceled or postponed in the Salzburg State Clinics (SALK), said the SALK spokesman. “A few have been added since then.” For comparison: in the first wave a year ago there were just over 1,000 operations. At the same time, the cooperation with three Salzburg private clinics, which had been in effect since December, was extended to the end of May. So far 173 operations have been carried out externally. Most recently, 22 patients in the state were cared for in the intensive care unit, the current crisis level was almost exhausted. “If there are even more now, we will soon have to close other areas.” In the last expansion stage, there is space in Salzburg for a maximum of 49 intensive care patients. In addition, the hospital authorities in the country agreed on Wednesday that intensive care patients can no longer only be admitted to the university clinic or the Schwarzach hospital, but also to other hospitals.

In Styria, the Steiermärkische Krankenanstaltengesellschaft KAGes announced on Wednesday that operations that were not absolutely necessary were postponed in order to keep intensive care beds free for corona patients. On average, 90 percent of all intensive care beds in the KAGes houses are occupied – with or without a pandemic. Since increasing numbers of severe Covid 19 infections can be expected, one must take precautions. “We’re still well behind autumn, so don’t panic, but we’re preparing,” said a spokesman. A good 50 corona intensive care patients are currently being cared for in Styria.

Upper Austria increases bed capacities

In Upper Austria, bed capacities for Covid-19 patients will be increased from Monday, in return, operations may be postponed again. The situation is not as bad as in November and December of the previous year, but one is already starting to “budget” the intensive care beds, said the corporate spokeswoman for Upper Austria. Health holding, Jutta Oberweger. Some interventions that are not urgent and where you know in advance that the patient will need an intensive care bed for a long time will be postponed. On the oö. From Monday, intensive care units will be available for corona patients 103 instead of 75 units, on the normal wards the number of corona beds will be increased from 300 to 400 from March 29. There are currently 211 people in normal and 56 in intensive care units in hospitals in the state.

The situation in the hospitals in Tyrol was stable. Planned operations are currently only “postponed minimally”, but the reasons for this have nothing to do with Corona, said Johannes Schwamberger, spokesman for the Tyrol Clinics for the APA. The situation in this regard is nowhere near as “as in other phases” of the pandemic. “There are currently enough capacities,” he summarized. Although there was an increase in corona patients in the normal wards, the occupancy rate in the intensive care units remained within reasonable limits. There is a strong “east-west divide” in this area, he said.

According to the hospital operating company, a total of 52 intensive care beds were available in Vorarlberg on Thursday. 25 of them were occupied, only one of them with a Covid patient. So there were still 27 intensive care beds available for all patient groups.

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