The 310 intensive care beds correspond to the highest “level eight” of the Vienna Covid Plan. The current paper by the government’s forecasting consortium shows how close the capital city has already come to this maximum capacity utilization. An increase to 260 intensive care patients is expected there over the next two weeks. The fluctuation range is between 210 and 320.
“Strictly speaking, no free bed”
The AGES dashboard shows (as of yesterday) 493 available intensive care beds throughout Austria. However, only some of these beds are really currently available, as Herwig Ostermann from Health Austria (GÖG) explains. Because all beds that can be mobilized within a week are also counted as “available”. However, this distinction is not made public. This means that Vienna currently only has a 52 percent occupancy rate of the Corona intensive care beds (165 of 318 places occupied).
Nina Brenner-Küng from the Vienna Health Association points out, however, that the utilization of intensive care units is already between 80 and 85 percent in normal times. It is currently even higher. “Strictly speaking, we have no free bed,” says the spokeswoman for the health association. In order to be able to accommodate the increasing number of corona patients, operations that can be planned must be postponed, which is already happening. This is to increase the maximum capacity from currently 230 to around 310.
No information on ventilators in Vienna
The latter figure would roughly correspond to the total of the intensive capacity indicated by AGES for Vienna (318). The overview for Vienna is made more difficult by the fact that, according to Ostermann, the capital is the only federal state not to send its figures to the federal government via an automatic data interface. Therefore, the numbers of the daily morning report in the Corona crisis team are used for Vienna. It is not separately recorded how many of the intensive care beds that are still available are immediately available for Covid patients.
For the other federal states in particular, more information is available than can be called up via the AGES dashboard. Among other things, there are also up-to-date figures for the federal states on the proportion of free ventilators and operational staff in intensive care units. The relevant reporting has been in place for a few months, emphasizes Ostermann.
In the meantime, some of these figures are also published – but only once a week in the report of the Corona Traffic Light Commission. According to this, more than half of the ventilators were free last week. But there were particularly few in Burgenland (11 percent) and Tyrol (27 percent). For Vienna in particular, however, the report did not yet contain any information.