Local news translated – Friday, Nov. 5, 2021

Host Nation Update, Nov 5

Schools in Baden-Wuerttemberg start Monday without mandatory masks in class
STUTTGART – After the autumn vacations, schools will start on Monday without mandatory masks in class. At the same time, Culture Minister Theresa Schopper (Greens) wants to keep an eye on the infection figures and may revise the decision if necessary. “Schools must remain open, and at the same time safe places,” the four associations demanded.

After the warning level was reached in the southwest, the associations fear that there will be school closures again. “If schools are to continue to be kept open, the protection of children and teachers must be strengthened, otherwise there will be gradual school closures due to increasing quarantine measures, which will ultimately lead to a complete school closure.

Minister of education Schopper referred to the fact that with a reaching of the alarm level the mask obligation changes automatically. The same applies if there is a case of infection in the class. “These automatic mechanisms are already in place,” she said, pointing out that the mask could also be worn voluntarily. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 5)

Coronavirus in Baden-Württemberg – More than 300 intensive care beds occupied by COVID patients
Stuttgart – The occupancy of intensive care units in the southwest with Covid-19 patients rose to 308 on Thursday. This means that 13 more COVID patients are now being treated in an intensive care unit than the day before, according to the State Health Office (LGA) in Stuttgart.

Of the operable intensive care beds, 13.5 percent are thus occupied by Corona-infected patients.  Both the number of COVID intensive care patients and the hospitalization incidence are critical to stricter corona measures by the state government. After exceeding the 250 threshold for intensive care bed occupancy for the second consecutive business day on Tuesday of this week, the alert level has been in effect in the state since Wednesday.  If the number of intensive care patients repeatedly rises above 390, the alert level threatens further restrictions.

The Corona regulation provides in this case nationwide the 2G rule with access restrictions, for example, in restaurants or museums for unvaccinated. According to a forecast by the University Hospital of Freiburg for the LGA, this could be the case as early as mid-November. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 5)

Health offices in the southwest overloaded – COVID infected must now inform contacts themselves
Stuttgart – In view of the skyrocketing number of Corona cases in Baden-Württemberg, health offices will no longer call most infected people and their contacts directly in the future. That needs to be done now by the affected person.

The so-called “individual case management” will be discontinued throughout the southwest in order to relieve the offices. Many authorities had no longer been able to promptly inform contacts of affected persons – for example, from the restaurant, the cinema or birthday parties. Several media outlets had previously reported on the change in strategy.

Health offices are therefore to focus more on protecting at-risk groups, for example in nursing homes, hospitals, daycare centers and schools, as well as on managing major outbreaks, the ministry added. However, he stressed, quarantine is still mandatory for the unvaccinated. Since positive cases would be reported to the health authorities, the authorities would know about it.  Anyone who has been vaccinated or has recovered does not usually have to be quarantined, even if he or she is the contact person. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 5)

Coronavirus in Baden-Württemberg – Companies call for return to free COVID tests
Stuttgart – In view of rising Corona numbers, companies in the southwest are demanding legal certainty for the vaccination status query of employees and a return to free tests for all citizens.

The difficult winter season is yet to come, but the development is already worrying. Test results could be useful for health protection in companies.  Companies could make an important contribution to pandemic control. For this, however, the legislator must first urgently create the legal conditions. Then a consistent 3G rule in the workplace can help companies to optimally design pandemic-compatible operational processes and implement appropriate hygiene concepts.” Under the 3G rule, access is only available to those vaccinated, recovered or tested.  Employers would need a secure basis under data protection law to ask about the vaccination status of employees, the UBW chief executive said. The costs for health protection should also “not be passed on to the companies alone”.

Already now the companies would make two free tests available weekly to their employees. If more extensive testing concepts were to be considered, such as daily tests or even PCR tests, this would overburden many companies, according to the association.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 5) 

Böblingen’s Lord Mayor in quarantine due to COVID infection
Böblingen – As the city announced early Thursday evening, Lord Mayor Stefan Belz has tested positive for the Corona virus and is slightly ill. He is currently and probably until November 16 in domestic quarantine and will not attend any appointments during this time.

He tested positive following contact with an infected person.  “I had developed mild cold symptoms. With that, I’m doing well considering the circumstances, which I naturally attribute to my COVID vaccination,” Belz is quoted as saying in a press release from the city. “(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 5)