Local news translated – Thurs, Dec 23, 2021

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HN Update, December 23

Baden-Württemberg – Number of transmitted Omikron cases increases
Stuttgart – While the corona infection incidence in Baden-Württemberg also decreased on Wednesday, the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread in the southwest.

So far, 346 cases of the new variant, which is considered more contagious, have been reported to the agency, according to the state health department – 146 more than the day before. However, it is unclear how many of these cases have been detected via genome sequencing. In addition, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), many of the data are predominantly one to two weeks old.

The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a week was 291.0 in Baden-Württemberg on Wednesday (as of 4 p.m.), down from 306.7 the previous day and 403.4 a week ago. 

In light of Omikron, the RKI, Germany’s top epidemic authority, expects a wave of infections of unprecedented momentum. Declining incidences are not yet a sign of an easing, said RKI President Lothar Wieler on Wednesday. Most recently, the German government’s expert council had also warned of an “explosive” spread of the variant.

The number of covid patients in Baden-Württemberg’s intensive care units fell by five to 583, according to Wednesday’s LGA report, with 340 of them receiving artificial respiration. The so-called hospitalization incidence decreased by 0.3 to the value of 4.1. It indicates how many corona patients were admitted per 100,000 inhabitants within a week. The actual number of hospitalizations is generally higher than the incidence rate. Again, the complete values are often not available for one to two weeks. (Stgt Nachrichten Dec 23)

Corona resolutions – Is an early curfew coming?
Stuttgart – Baden-Württemberg wants to exhaust all possibilities to contain the spread of the coronavirus. After Christmas, mandatory testing will probably be reintroduced for those who have been vaccinated and recovered, as well.

The Standing Committee on Vaccination now recommends booster shots after three months. It may not be necessary to test during this period.  According to reports, the state government is also likely to impose curfews for restaurants in the new Corona ordinance. On Wednesday, there was talk in government circles that pubs would have to close at 8 or 9 pm.  The ordinance is to take effect from Dec. 27.

The prime ministers and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had agreed on Tuesday that stronger contact restrictions for vaccinated and recovered should apply from December 28. However B-W will already implement it on December 27. Then only ten people over the age of 14 will be allowed to meet privately; versus previously, private meetings of up to 50 people were allowed in Baden-Württemberg. 

However, for Kretschmann the decisions of the state premiers and the Chancellor do not go far enough. Kretschmann had noted in a protocol statement that the resolutions were not sufficient. Saxony had joined in. In the protocol note, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony demand that the epidemic situation of national scope be reinstated. In the state parliament, he emphasized that the federal and state resolutions “do not provide us as a state with all the necessary instruments to be able to react quickly and effectively if the situation continues to worsen. For example, we cannot impose curfews.” He later agreed to the resolutions “because I believe that joint action by the federal and state governments is imperative. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 23)

Extension of the Christmas holidays – Ministry of Culture critical of RKI chief’s proposal
Stuttgart – The debate about an early start of the Christmas vacations has hardly died down. The anger of teachers’ associations and school principals about the abolition of mandatory attendance at the 4,500 schools in Baden-Württemberg is probably still ringing in the ears of the Minister of Education, Theresa Schopper (Greens).

Now the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, instigated a new discussion by demanding on Tuesday evening an extension of the Christmas vacations to contain the spread of the Omikron variant of the coronavirus.

The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs thinks little of it. “In principle, nothing can be ruled out in the pandemic,” explains a spokesman, “but we are critical of a mere extension of the vacations.” In principle, it would be wrong to “flip the switch only at schools, and the rest of society continues as before.” That is not appropriate, he said, after all, the study shows that infection control in schools is working.  “However, because of the spread of the Omikron variant, we have to be prepared for more students and teachers having to be quarantined again for 14 days than before,” the spokesman also explained, however. “That’s why we are currently developing different scenarios for the schools for the period after the vacations. In doing so, we also need to clarify what is legally possible given the federal government’s elimination of the epidemic emergency.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture has allocated an additional 22.4 million euros for Corona rapid tests at daycare centers. From January 10, children in daycare centers in the state will be required to take tests from the age of one, just as they are in schools. They must be tested for infection three times a week with an antigen test or twice a week with a PCR test. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 23)

Non-COVID related news:

Rain instead of snow in Baden-Württemberg – Frost followed by mild temperatures at Christmas
Stuttgart – A few days before the holidays, it is clear that Baden-Württemberg will not have a white Christmas.

While Thursday will be clear to cloudy at times with maximum temperatures between two degrees and nine degrees, Christmas Eve on Friday will probably be celebrated under a thick cloud cover, as the German Weather Service (DWD) forecasts.

Instead of snow, rain will fall in some areas. Maximum temperatures are between six and eleven degrees, according to the meteorologists. In the mountains, strong to stormy gusts could blow.   

Also for Christmas Day, the weather service cannot forecast a white splendor in valleys and on mountains in the country. Rather, gloomy clouds and rain in some areas will move across the country, with highs between six degrees on the Danube and eleven degrees near Freiburg. Stormy gusts are again expected in the mountains, especially in the southern Black Forest.

The situation will be similar on the second day of Christmas:  rain will move in from the southwest during the course of Sunday, with maximum temperatures expected to be between three and ten degrees during the day.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 23)

Budget in Böblingen – The district’s budget is flourishing
Böblingen district – The district’s budget was passed with a broad majority on Monday: in the overall budget, income of around 472 million euros is offset by expenses of 470.7 million, so that the treasury generates a result of 1.3 million euros. The largest items are the district’s three clinics in Herrenberg, Böblingen and Sindelfingen, which are calculated at around 759 million euros. Of these, the largest project is the construction of the new clinic on the airfield in Böblingen. The building shell alone cost around 76 million euros.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 23)