With Omikron, the corona numbers are increasing rapidly in Germany – and with it the need for PCR tests is also growing. The laboratories are “largely unprepared,” warns one association.
Frankfurt – The Omikron variant of the corona virus is considered highly contagious. It was first discovered in South Africa, now it dominates the infection process in numerous countries. In Germany, too, the proportion of the Corona variant * is increasing rapidly. Although experts assume that Omikron leads to milder courses * as a result of an infection, a “sudden increase in the number of infections” as well as a “rapid overload of the health system and possibly other areas of care” is possible, as the Robert Koch Institute warns.
“The high number of infections goes hand in hand with many tests,” warns the chairman of the Association of Accredited Laboratories in Medicine, Michael Müller, in an interview with the Rheinische Post. The medical laboratories in Germany are therefore increasingly approaching the limits of their capacity utilization in the Corona crisis. “Because there is currently hardly any priority in PCR tests, laboratories in Germany are increasingly reaching their capacity limits”. That is critical, both for the sick and for hospitals.
Corona: Laboratories at their limit due to many PCR tests
“It is therefore imperative that medical practices and test centers in particular are encouraged to align themselves with the national test strategy,” demands Müller. If capacities are tight, PCR tests would have to be carried out in accordance with the recommendations there. With the new corona rules in Germany, you can soon free yourself from quarantine: This will “inevitably lead to additional work for the laboratories”. On the part of the federal government and the states, there were no forecasts “how many more tests we have to be prepared for”. Now the laboratories would “have to face the onslaught largely unprepared”.
On Tuesday (January 11th, 2022), the association put the test capacity utilization at 64 percent. On the discussion about capacity bottlenecks, Müller said in a press release: “The workload in the laboratories is considerable, but I see no reason for too much concern.” Rather, with increasing test activity and limited test capacities, it is more important to actually implement the test strategy.
Corona tests: the head of the crisis team expects bottlenecks
The head of the German government’s Corona crisis team, Major General Carsten Breuer, also warns: “As with all scarce resources, we will certainly have to bundle capacities where necessary. That also applies to tests, ”he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. As soon as it gets tight somewhere, priority must be given. “Employees in the critical infrastructure have priority,” he said. The goal, however, is to maintain the previous test regime for as long as possible. “We need the most accurate data possible to see how the wave affects us,” said Breuer.
The Greens health expert * Janosch Dahmen spoke out in favor of prioritizing PCR tests. They would have to be kept in readiness on the one hand for important medical diagnostics of the seriously ill and on the other hand for the staff of the critical infrastructure, said Dahmen on Thursday in the RBB-Inforadio.
“That can mean that in individual cases, for example when testing free, there may be delays. This not only means long queues in front of the test centers, but also that it takes time for the test result to be available, ”admitted Dahmen. The situation will only improve once the skyrocketing Corona case numbers * are brought under control. (lrg / dpa) * fr.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.
List of rubric lists: © Andreas Arnold / dpa