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Omicron wave affects hospital staff


The increasingly rampant Coronavirus variant Omicron is also starting to affect the staff in Berlin hospitals.

Increasing number of employees in quarantine or isolation

"We are noticing an increasing number of Charité employees who have to go into isolation or quarantine," a Charité spokesman said on Tuesday (Jan. 18, 2022) in response to a dpa query. The maintenance of regular hospital operations is still guaranteed, but the changing situation needs to be responded and adapted to. Therefore, "partial adjustments in the treatment of patients" might be necessary, the spokesman stated. At Charité hospital, certain scheduled operations, treatments and therapies deemed not essential for the patient's survival have been postponed due to the high stress caused by the Coronavirus.

Care teams need to be employed in a flexible manner

A spokeswoman for the state-owned Vivantes hospital group said that the rate of absent staff had fluctuated in recent weeks and was currently trending slightly upward again. However, she said, the rate is not yet above the level that was reached in previous Coronavirus waves. "The exemption from quarantine for contact persons who have been vaccinated for a third time or recently double-vaccinated is expected to have a relieving effect," the spokeswoman said, referring to new federal quarantine rules. As in previous waves, the current Coronavirus situation requires more flexibility in the employment of care teams. "If staffing shortages were to occur, additional scheduled treatments would have to be postponed," the spokeswoman explained.

«Pandemic level 1» at the Berlin police

Hospitals are part of the so-called critical infrastructure, just like the police, the fire department, and energy or water suppliers. In many cases, precautions are taken to ensure the ability for these institutions to work even if many employees have to be isolated or quarantined. The Berlin police have now initiated "pandemic level 1" and set up a Coronavirus crisis unit. It was announced on Monday (Jan. 17) that 15 to 30 percent of police staff were currently absent due to illness. About 800 police employees are currently infected or in quarantine. The hospitals Charité and Vivantes did not provide any concrete figures.

Publication date: 27 September 2023
Last updated: 18 January 2022

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