Clinics in Saxony, which is currently particularly affected by the corona pandemic, are preparing to move COVID-19 patients to other federal states because their capacities could soon be exhausted. “We have to plan that now,” said Dr. Thomas Grünewald, Head of the Clinic for Infection and Tropical Medicine at the Chemnitz Clinic, during a press conference in Aue. “We’re not so naive that we think we can do it on our own.”
In addition to the two university hospitals in Dresden and Leipzig, the municipal hospital is one of the three maximum care providers in the Free State, each of which coordinates the inpatient care of patients with COVID-19 in their regions. The Leipzig University Hospital is now accepting seriously ill corona patients from clinics in the Dresden region or distributing them to other clinics in Leipzig.
For some time now, patients have been relocated to Leipzig from the Chemnitz area, which is also badly affected, because here, as in Dresden, the capacities are often insufficient.
More COVID-19 cases but fewer staff
“If the development of the number of infections in Saxony continues like this, we won’t be able to hold out until Christmas,” said Professor Christoph Josten, Medical Director of the Leipzig University Hospital, and fears: “Then we’ll have to hoist the white flag at Christmas.”
Josten reported that “entire wards” were being closed in the clinics to care for corona patients, psychiatrists were working in normal wards and nurses were being sought in all possible ways who had previously worked in an intensive care unit. “In contrast to the spring, we have more patients who are sick with COVID-19 and fewer doctors and nurses,” said Josten.
Grünewald added that around 30 percent fewer employees are currently available in the clinics than at the beginning of the corona pandemic in spring. “Some of them are infected with the coronavirus themselves, many have vacation around Christmas and the turn of the year and soon several employees will also have to organize childcare,” said the doctor.
Saxony reacts with tightened measures
Even before the federal-state agreement, Saxony had decided to take more stringent measures from December 14th, including the closure of kindergartens and schools. Josten and Grünewald fully support the lockdown. “We have 50 to 100 COVID-19 deaths in Saxony every day,” said Grünewald. “These are numbers that we cannot accept,” he added.
“We now need other, authoritarian measures by the state,” emphasized Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU). “We are very late with our actions and it would have been better to act earlier”. Saxony has developed into the federal state with the highest incidence value in the Federal Republic.
“We did not manage to raise awareness of the dangers posed by the coronavirus in the population,” said Kretschmer. “Compared to the spring, there is a much more relaxed and inexperienced way of dealing with the corona measures among the people in Saxony.” The Prime Minister added that he had “zero understanding for conspiracy theorists and corona deniers”. “We all have to contradict that.”
Increasingly young patients with COVID-19
University hospital board member Josten described that after the demonstrations by lateral thinkers in Leipzig in November with up to 45,000 participants, a “well-known lateral thinker who demonstrated in Leipzig” was sick with COVID-19 himself. He was intubated eight days later.
Grünewald also reported that there are now many young people in the clinics who are seriously ill with COVID-19. “They say breathing is like trying to get air underwater.”
Josten added that currently half of the COVID-19 patients in the intensive care units in Saxony are younger than 60 years. “The death rate in intensive care units among corona patients is around 40 percent,” said the clinic’s board of directors.