The first lightweight hall is already being renovated and is said to have a capacity of up to 160 beds. Seven other halls are available if required
The work has already begun so that a Covid 19 auxiliary hospital can go into operation in the decommissioned asylum waiting room at Erding Air Force Base on Wednesday 1 April. Almost a week ago, District Administrator Martin Bayerstorfer (CSU) reported on the idea of the Disaster Management leadership group to convert eight lightweight halls that had been built four years ago to temporarily accommodate refugees to care for Covid 19 patients. Now Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann has given the go-ahead for at least one hall, as Bayerstorfer says on Thursday. For the remaining seven, the government of Upper Bavaria had to place a placard with which they were in constant conversation, it said.
For this reason, one of the lightweight halls is currently being set up for up to 160 patients. The auxiliary hospital is to be operated with its own clinical staff. Clinic manager Dirk Last quantified the personnel requirements with one doctor and four nursing staff per 40 beds. Further expansion should take place as required. The seven other lightweight halls, which are all next to each other, could also become Covid 19 hospitals, increasing the capacity to around 1,000 beds. This is how you can offer support to the surrounding counties, emphasized Bayerstorfer: “We now have to push the preparations quickly and carefully so that we can relieve the burden on our clinic if the number of patients continues to increase.”
The Erdinger district administrator has been waiting for the promises from above for days and, according to his own statements, “put pressure on every day”. But the official route through the government of Upper Bavaria and Bavarian ministries up to Berlin took time. From a bureaucratic point of view, the asylum waiting room, which was closed at the end of the year, is not an easy matter: the site is under the administration of the Federal Office for Real Estate, the site is in the security area of the Bundeswehr and the Federal Ministry of the Interior has the final say. The latter had announced at the end of 2019 that the asylum waiting room would be put into standby mode. “The infrastructure remains largely in place for a possible ramp-up,” it was said at the time, if necessary the waiting room “should be reactivated within 48 hours.
The asylum waiting room has more than 3000 beds in old aircraft shelters and new lightweight halls. The supply infrastructure and the sanitary facilities are also designed for so many people. However, everything is only set up for temporary accommodation of people. After the camp was set up in a hurry in autumn 2015, almost 100,000 refugees had passed through the spring of 2016. Everyone just stayed in the waiting room.
The asylum waiting room is now being reactivated, at least partially, but faster than expected, for another urgent purpose. District administrator Bayerstorfer and members of the disaster control management group were already outside at the air base a week ago and looked at the circumstances. The converted shelters – old, semicircular concrete garages for jet aircraft – seemed unsuitable for the sick. But everyone thought that the modern, white, lightweight halls could be used well for an auxiliary hospital. There are bunk beds in the halls. “But you only have to take the top down, then 160 beds are left for the sick,” said Bayerstorfer. It is also good that the beds are already separated by partition walls. Bayerstorfer has also purchased an oxygen generation plant. The 160,000 euro system will deliver the oxygen that is important for the treatment of Covid 19 patients, which is to be provided with a hose system at each bedside. It is not about operating ventilators, but about oxygen masks that can make breathing easier for Covid 19 patients.
In the current press release from the district office, it says: “The first work was carried out yesterday, Wednesday. Sanitary containers have already been delivered and the necessary bed linen and protective clothing are already being delivered.” In addition, there has already been an “operating concept has been submitted to the government of Upper Bavaria”.