Local news translated – Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021

Host Nation Update, November 2, 2021

Corona infection numbers in Baden-Württemberg – Warning level will be in effect as of Wednesday
Stuttgart – Corona infection numbers in Baden-Württemberg are approaching a new pandemic high. With current strong growth, 189 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants have been reported. In addition, more than 250 intensive care beds are now consistently occupied by Covid 19 patients. Because today will be two working days in a row, the warning level with stricter rules will come into effect on Wednesday.

Nationwide, measures to contain the spread of coronavirus are no longer tied to incidence, but to the situation in hospitals. In Baden-Württemberg, there are three levels for measures against coronavirus. Which level applies is determined by the situation in the hospitals. While the daily rate of the most recent COVID 19 patients admitted to the hospital is systematically underreported, the number of intensive care beds occupied by corona patients is a reliable indicator of the burden on the healthcare system.

If more than 250 ICU beds in the country are occupied for two consecutive business days, the alert level kicks in – at which point the 3-G rule continues to apply to most areas of public life that means that unvaccinated individuals must present a PCR test. It is very likely that this will be the case as of this Wednesday on, because Monday was a public holiday and the 250 level was exceeded for the first time on Friday. If there are more than 390 occupied ICU beds, the alert level is 2-G; unvaccinated persons are then excluded from quite a few activities. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 2)

Corona rules in the southwest – What PCR tests are needed at what warning level and where to get them
Stuttgart – Corona numbers have reached new highs, and warning levels could be in effect across the country from Wednesday. Compared to lockdown times, the impact is minor for most people, hitting hardest those who could have been vaccinated previously, but didn’t take that step. In many places, these people now need a PCR test to gain entry.

What contact restrictions will apply? With the warning level, contact restrictions apply again. Whether it’s a birthday, wedding or just a party, a household is allowed to meet with a maximum of five other people at private events. Vaccinated, recovered, minors and people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons are not counted.  

Where do you need which test? A rapid antigen test is no longer sufficient for unvaccinated people at indoor public events, for example at the cinema or the opera. This also applies to visits to restaurants or museums. Anyone who could be vaccinated but does not wish to do so must now present a PCR test there. Clubs and discos are now only open to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered.  

How long is the test valid? The submitted test must not be older than 48 hours. The date and time stated on the certificate are valid.  Private test providers state that the state health office knows, but there they say that no information is available. Most cities and municipalities provide information on their websites.  What do pharmacists say? Of the approximately 2400 pharmacies in the country, 600 provide information about their testing services on the homepage of the Chamber of Pharmacists. The number of facilities that also offer PCR testing is much smaller. 

The PCR test costs 50 euros if the result is to be communicated the following day, 120 euros if it is available within half an hour. This price will soon be reduced to 100 euros. A test for partygoers, where the result is available within two hours, costs 75 euros – there are discounts through cooperation with some clubs. The test stations are closed on Sundays and public holidays. 

What will change at the schools? The first days of the warning level are still expected to fall during the fall vacations, but even when school starts again on November 8, the effects of the warning level in this area known so far will remain comparatively minor. In the future, a minimum distance must again be maintained when singing – this was not the case at the basic level. In addition, the 2-G rule applies to parents on school trips if they accompany the group. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 2)

Christmas markets in and around Stuttgart – These Corona rules should apply
Stuttgart – Mulled wine, gingerbread and arts and crafts: after the corona-induced break, there will be Christmas markets again this year in numerous cities in the southwest. Whether in the state capital, Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Ulm or Esslingen – the municipalities in the state want to revive the tradition during Advent despite the ongoing pandemic.  

In Stuttgart, the market opens its doors to visitors from November 24 to December 30 inclusively, one week longer than originally planned. However, as in many other communities, it is currently still unclear what rules will apply to the markets, as Jörg Klopfer from the organizer in Stuttgart said. In Ulm and Esslingen, too, the exact specifications of the organizers have not yet been determined. The decision in Esslingen, for example, not to set up stages with artists shows that visitors will still have to do without some familiar things this year.  There will be some basic rules, for example, masks must be worn at all markets, as distances between people cannot not be reliably maintained. In addition, access must be controlled, as 3G proof is required for the consumption of food and beverages or for rides. Thus, visitors must prove that they have been vaccinated, recovered or tested. If Corona case numbers rise to the point where the so-called alert level goes into effect, access will be limited to those vaccinated and recovered (2G). The state will leave it up to event organizers to decide how to implement the rules.   (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 1)