Salzburg prepares for triage as ICU beds near full capacity

The director of the hospitals of Salzburg – one of Austria’s nine states – has nominated a triage team that will decide who receives treatment in intensive care units. [EPA-EFE / Georg Hochmuth]

The director of the hospitals of Salzburg – one of Austria’s nine states – has nominated a triage team that will decide who receives treatment in intensive care units as the occupancy rate in the state is nearly at maximum capacity.

In the current escalation stage, 272 beds in intensive care units, usually reserved for non-COVID-19 patients, are occupied by people with COVID-19. In the next escalation stage, there would not be enough medical personnel to deal with the situation.

The regional government has already taken action and announced that rehabilitation centres would make additional space for non-COVID patients.

Salzburg has been one of the Austrian states hit hardest by the recent surge in infections. “We appeal in all urgency to the politically responsible to implement the necessary measures to reduce the infection rate,” the director of the hospital of Salzburg, Paul Sungler, has said.

On Monday, Austria introduced a lockdown for unvaccinated people to halt the surge in infection numbers across the country.

However, the situation is worsening daily. On Tuesday, 61 COVID-related deaths were reported, the highest number in nine months.

Health minister Wolfgang Mückstein wants to push for a night-time curfew for the entire population. However, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg is reluctant to introduce measures that would target the vaccinated population too.

(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)

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