On Thursday, health authorities reported 203,136 new infections within 24 hours, as well as 188 Covid-related deaths.
A week ago, 133,536 daily Covid cases were reported.
The 7-day incidence rose above the one-thousand mark for the first time – there were 1017.4 Covid infections per 100,000 people on Thursday. On Wednesday, the incidence was 940.6, and a week ago it was 638.8.
In view of the Omicron wave hitting the country hard, German hospitals are preparing for new patients.
The current number of people infected will have an impact on hospitals in seven to 10 days, said the chairman of the German Hospital Association, Gerald Gaß.
“This means that we will also experience a high dynamic of new admissions to hospitals in the coming days and probably weeks,” Gaß told broadcaster ZDF.
According to the DIVI intensive care register, there are currently around 2,663 Covid patients in intensive care units in Germany with 1,311 receiving ventilation treatment.
Meanwhile, the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 residents within seven days was 4.26 on Wednesday. But experts fear this will increase further due to the high number – around three million – of unvaccinated people over the age of 60 in Germany.
Gaß said another issue is that there are major staffing issues because employees are battling Covid infections themselves, or having to isolate for other reasons.
“This is putting a strain on the hospitals,” he said.
Half of German hospitals already reported occupancy restrictions last week, he said, adding: “At the moment, however, it is not the case that care is at risk.”
In the previous waves of Covid, the overload of intensive care units with Covid-19 patients led to operations on other patients having to be cancelled.
Due to the fact that Omicron causes milder illness than previous variants, Gaß said he doesn’t expect hospitals to struggle in the same way during the coming weeks.
“We do not seem to be facing this situation at the moment,” he said. “But of course – the high occupancy on the normal wards also puts a strain on the staff and ultimately on the hospital as a whole.”
Another issue facing hospitals is that employees need to show proof of being vaccinated against Covid by March 15th. There are fears that many will refuse to be vaccinated and quit their jobs, leaving more gaps in the workforce.
Gaß said hospitals are hoping for the so-called ‘dead’ or ‘inactivated’ vaccine – where the virus is killed off – from Novavax to be available quickly.
Health officials believe that vaccination sceptics will be more open to this type of vaccine rather than the mRNA or vector vaccines.
Gaß said medical bosses would try everything to convince their unvaccinated employees to get their shots.
If they can’t be convinced, unvaccinated employees face being let go from their jobs without continued payment of wages, he said.