Local news translated – Nov. 8, 2023

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Nov. 6, 2023

Christmas in Stuttgart — The Christmas tree was set up at Schlossplatz

The first signs were the candy shelves in the supermarkets, which have been filled with gingerbread, speculoos and domino chocolate for weeks now. Then the Winter Dream opened in Stuttgart, and now the pre-Christmas season has finally and officially begun: on Wednesday morning, the large Christmas tree was set-up on the market square in front of the Königsbau on Schlossplatz. According to the event agency in.Stuttgart, which also organizes the Stuttgart Christmas market, the tree is a silver fir. The tree from Sulzbach an der Murr is 24 meters high and will be festively decorated from 13 to 17 November. (Stgt Nachrichten, Nov 8, 2023) 

How important are self-tests for flu, RSV and COVID?

People are sniffling and coughing everywhere again: summer is over and various viruses are back with a vengeance. The problem: you can’t tell from a sniffly nose why it’s running. A self-test, which has been on the market since the beginning of the year, is designed to identify which viruses you have caught. Holzgerlingen pharmacist Björn Schittenhelm is now also offering the test for influenza, COVID and RSV for sale. “It was important for us to move away from the pure COVID test this season,” says the Holzgerlingen-based pharmacist. The diseases covered by the test are now considered to be equally serious.

A simple COVID test no longer makes sense,” says Björn Schittenhelm. Many people would still test themselves for COVID. But by offering the new self-test, the pharmacist from Holzgerlingen wants to raise awareness of the fact that a negative COVID test is by no means a free pass to go to work or visit grandparents. The RS virus, which is particularly dangerous for young children, and influenza A and B are equally dangerous for other people. If you are tested, all four viruses should therefore be checked.

The self-test works like a Covid test. You continue to take a swab, then the sample is dissolved in a liquid and dripped onto three fields (COVID, RSV and influenza). For influenza, there are two lines – one for variant A and one for B – there is another line for Covid and one for RSV. If no line appears apart from the control line – which indicates that the test has been carried out correctly – then you can assume that none of the four diseases are present, says Björn Schittenhelm.

When should you take a test?

“It is advisable to take the test when the symptoms start,” says the pharmacist. To be on the safe side, another test can be carried out after one or two days. “The sensitivity of these tests, which depends on the viral load, is crucial.” However, the tests do not replace a visit to the doctor. “But the doctor is also happy if you have taken such a test and can say whether it is positive or negative,” says Schittenhelm. Another important pillar of prevention is vaccination, which is progressing very slowly. It is no longer a question of vaccinating everyone, but people over 60 and vulnerable groups can be effectively protected with a vaccine.

How much does the test cost?

The test from the manufacturer Fluorecare, which according to the pharmacist is of high quality and works well, costs between three and five euros. However, there is no certification for the test package. According to Schittenhelm, all larger pharmacies in the Böblingen district now offer the test.  The RS virus causes serious illness in many children. This is why testing children is also recommended. “The decisive factor is always how well the sample is taken,” says Björn Schittenhelm. There is usually enough viral load in the front of the nose to obtain a good test result.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 8, 2023)


S-Bahn in the Stuttgart region – Several stops temporarily closed

Due to various works on the control and safety technology, there will be disruptions on several S-Bahn lines from November 15 to 29. As DB-Regio announces on its S-Bahn website, passengers between Esslingen and Stuttgart-Neckarpark and between Fellbach and Stuttgart-Hauptbahnhof must expect stops to be canceled, and buses will also be used as replacement services in some sections.  On November 15, 16 and 17, the S1 will have stops canceled in both directions from 10 pm to 4 am. In the Kirchheim direction, the Neckarpark, Obertürkheim and Mettingen stops will be affected. In Untertürkheim, track 4 will be used as an exception. Those traveling in the direction of Herrenberg will also have to do without the stop in Untertürkheim. A replacement bus service (S1E) will be set up between Bad Cannstatt and Esslingen. These buses will run every 30 minutes. (Stgt Nachrichten, Nov 8, 2023)

There’s lots going on in Esslingen on Sunday, November 12 – the “Esslinger Herbst” attracts visitors with open stores, games and travel fair

Regardless of the weather, Esslingen’s city center will have a colorful program at “Esslinger Herbst” on Sunday, 12 November with open stores, an autumn market, the Schlienz travel fair on the market square and the “play paradise” at the harbor market. At the autumn market around Ritterstraße up to the Old Town Hall, visitors can go on a treasure hunt between a variety of market stalls with arts and crafts, antiques and bric-a-brac. On Blarerplatz and in Strohstraße, you can stroll around the popular flea market, browse and pick up bargains. Both market areas are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Esslingen stores from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Autumn is also the ideal time to make vacation and travel plans for the new year. From 11 am to 5 pm, the Schlienz travel fair invites you to inspiring talks in the Old Town Hall and to the coach exhibition at the market square. Young and old can play from 11 am to 5 pm at the harbor market.