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Current Corona situation: Berkum primary school draws attention to its situation with white flags

Current Corona situation : Berkum primary school draws attention to its situation with white flags

The number of Corona patients in NRW hospitals has increased significantly. Some primary schools are raising white flags to draw attention to their situation. Here are some of the latest developments around the Corona pandemic as well as case numbers from the region.

Primary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, including Berkum Primary School (photo), have been using white flags and scarves to draw attention to the tense Corona situation in schools. "With the white flag we want to send a signal: Up to here and no further," Holger Thrien from the Education and Science Union (GEW) explained on Wednesday. The short-term change in the testing procedure announced on Tuesday is symbolic of the problems the schools have been facing since the beginning of the pandemic, he said. Primary school pupils with positive pool results in the Lolli tests in NRW will only be retested with rapid tests. According to the Ministry of Education, individual PCR reserve samples will no longer be given to the laboratories.

Communication and short-notice information on the part of politicians is no longer an exception, but the rule, Thrien complained. He feared that some teachers might leave the profession because of the heavy workload. This would make the teacher shortage in primary schools even worse. "You notice: after two years, the battery is empty," Thrien said. Among other things, he called for specialised staff for the Corona tests before classes begin and a reduced curriculum. This should relieve teachers and pupils, who also have to stay at home in quarantine more and more often.

This Wednesday, an estimated 40 primary schools in Düsseldorf and 30 in Wuppertal will take part in the protest action, GEW representatives said. The white flags, scarves and sheets will now be hung out of the windows every Wednesday, according to the state association. The action took place for the first time in December at a school in Cologne.

 Upcoming vaccination campaigns in Bonn

  • On Friday, 28 January, adults and young people aged 12 and over can get vaccinated at the Bundeskunsthalle, Helmut-Kohl-Allee 4. Those who get boostered will have free admission to the exhibition "The Brain" on the same day. The vaccines used are Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and BioNTech. 
  • The AOK, in cooperation with the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Nordrhein (North Rhine Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians), is offering vaccinations for adults aged 30 and over on Saturday, 29 January, and Saturday, 5 February, from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. The vaccination campaign will take place at the AOK Bonn office, Heisterbacherhofstraße. 4. The vaccination will be carried out exclusively with Moderna.
  • On Saturday, 5 February, vaccinations will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Haus Vielinbusch, Oppelner Straße 130, Tannenbusch. Afterwards, regular vaccination campaigns will take place every fortnight on Saturdays from 12 to 6 pm. Children from the age of five are also welcome. BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are used.
  • At the Dransdorf district association, Lenaustraße 14, the city will organise vaccination campaigns from Saturday, 12 February, also every fortnight on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna will be administered.

Stamp: Kitas can switch from PCR pool tests to rapid tests

In view of the laboratory bottlenecks in the evaluation of Corona PCR tests, NRW Family Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP) has offered affected day-care centres to quickly switch to the rapid test system. Around 27 to 29 percent of children in NRW day-care centres are currently being tested for the virus using PCR pool tests, Stamp said in the state parliament in Düsseldorf on Wednesday. He said the ministry had offered youth welfare offices that had established such a testing system to return to the state's rapid test delivery system in the short term.

At the beginning of April, the ministry had provided Corona rapid tests for all children in day-care centres. Where laboratory capacities allowed, the state had also made it possible for the municipalities to switch to PCR pool tests and had supported this financially, said Stamp.

At the same time, Stamp, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, rejected accusations by the opposition that the state government had caused chaos in the short-term conversion of the Corona testing system at primary schools. Stamp came to the defence of his FDP party colleague, Education Minister Yvonne Gebauer. The test system had not collapsed, but Gebauer had presented a solution. The SPD, on the other hand, had permanently demanded PCR pool tests not only for schools but also for all day-care centres. "We would have had a collapse of laboratory capacities if we (...) had followed your completely absurd proposal," Stamp said.

Due to scarce capacities and rising Corona case numbers, changes for primary school pupils in lollipop PCR tests have been in force at short notice since Wednesday. The background to this is that the federal and state governments had decided to give preference to sensitive areas such as hospitals and nursing care for the PCR tests, which are considered more reliable. Schools are not among them.

 Gebauer had "developed the best test system for our schools in Germany", said Stamp. The PCR pool test system at primary schools was "unique" in Germany and a model for other countries. 

Bonn incidence rises to 1,540

As of Wednesday, 26 January, the seven-day incidence in Bonn is 1,540. 5,303 people are currently infected in Bonn, according to the city. 70 people from Bonn and the surrounding area are currently being treated in Bonn hospitals for Covid-19. In the week from 17 to 24 January, 1,650 first, 2,681 second and 12,652 booster vaccinations were carried out in Bonn. This results in the following total numbers: 283,382 first vaccinations, 283,074 second vaccinations and 208,092 booster vaccinations. According to the LZG NRW, the incidence in the Rhein-Sieg district is 868.0.

More Corona patients in NRW hospitals again

The number of Corona patients in North Rhine-Westphalia's hospitals is again rising significantly, according to Minister President Hendrik Wüst. Within two weeks, the number of Coronanpatients had risen by 50 percent, the CDU politician told the state parliament in Düsseldorf on Wednesday. There are fewer severe cases, especially among people who have been immunised. This shows one thing above all: vaccination protects. However, it is also clear that Omikron is much more contagious than the Delta variant. That is why there are extremely high numbers of infections throughout Germany.

From the beginning, it was clear that the spread of this Corona variant could not be prevented, but only delayed. So far, this has been successful. Valuable time has been gained to prevent a double burden on hospitals from Delta and Omikron. In Bonn, too, the number of Corona patients in hospitals has increased - but only slightly. As of this Tuesday, 70 people are being treated with Covid-19 in the city's clinics. Last Thursday, there were 67. 52 of them are being cared for in normal wards (Thursday: 49), 18 in intensive care units (Thursday: 18). 11 patients currently need to be on ventilators. For comparison: At the beginning of January, 54 people with Covid-19 were being treated in Bonn's hospitals, 19 were in intensive care.

NRW head of government Wüst rules out relaxations for the time being

In view of the rolling wave of Omikron, North Rhine-Westphalia's Minister President Hendrik Wüst (CDU) has ruled out a softening of the Corona protection measures for the time being. "There can be no signal for large-scale, blanket relaxations," Wüst said in a briefing of the state parliament on Wednesday. He said that the federal and state governments had agreed in their consultations last Monday that the rules in force so far should basically continue to apply. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia would begin work on a "prudent scaling back of protective measures" when an overburdening of the health system could be foreseeably ruled out.

(Original text: ga/dpa; Translation: Mareike Graepel)