Refugee accommodation Sankt Augustin 129 confirmed corona cases among residents and staff

Sankt Augustin · The number of Corona cases in a refugee shelter in Sankt Augustin has risen to 129. On Monday, the Public Order Office and the police continued the relocation of refugees in the Central Accommodation Facility (ZUE), on Tuesday the separation continues.

 Employees of the public order office in protective suits leave the refugee accommodation in the central accommodation facility ZUE Sankt Augustin.

Employees of the public order office in protective suits leave the refugee accommodation in the central accommodation facility ZUE Sankt Augustin.

Foto: General-Anzeiger

Day two was again a long one for the forces of law and order: On Monday evening, the moves within the Central Housing Unit of the Land (ZUE) in Sankt Augustin were not yet completed, and on Tuesday the division of the residents continued. Since last week, numerous refugees had become infected with the Sars-CoV-2 corona virus.

On Monday morning, the number of cases confirmed by the Cologne District Government totalled 129, 120 of which were among residents, three among the security service and six among the staff of the care association, which also includes cleaning services and catering.

Relocation of residents was not without problems

Since Saturday, the building yard of the city of Sankt Augustin had already erected construction fences to divide the area of the former media headquarters of the German Federal Armed Forces into sections. On Sunday, what experts call cohorting or group isolation began: The infected residents are housed in a separate wing of the CDC. Many people had to move for this, including those who had not yet been infected.

Some of them were apparently not easy to persuade to quickly pack their belongings in bags or rubbish bags and clear out their room. "The relocation of the residents is not without problems. Some of them have to be convinced," confirmed Vanessa Nolte, spokeswoman for the Cologne district government responsible for the state facility. Extra professional help from two psychologists had been called in.

According to local police officers, some of the problems were solvable, as in the case of a mother who preferred to move her crying child into a familiar room. Others had to take their mattresses with them to the isolation ward because some mattresses were suddenly missing.

396 persons including staff tested, 129 infected

The responsible district government of Cologne announced the current status of the corona tests in the morning. According to this, a total of 396 persons including staff were tested. 80 results are not yet available. 489 refugees are registered with the ZUE Sankt Augustin. Only 312 of them were tested. The others do not live permanently in the accommodation, because they have stayed with friends, for example. "Since they can move around freely, many are not always present. This is the case in every national shelter and independent of Corona," said Nolte.

While almost half of the swabs tested were positive (120 are infected, 130 are not), the situation is different for the staff. The preliminary results for the security service: Of 33 people tested, three were infected with the corona virus. Among the 47 tested caregivers, six persons are positive.

Last Thursday, the first case of corona had become known at the state institution. The district health department had then conducted a mass test. The entire CUE has been under quarantine since last week.

Fire department, rescue service and many security forces on duty

According to Ali Dogan, head of the crisis management team of the city of Sankt Augustin, the deployment of the security service, which orders the relocations within the facility, proceeded somewhat slower on Monday than initially planned. The city had already set up an emergency control centre near the accommodation on the weekend, where fire and rescue services were also on standby. They were able to leave on Monday, while the security forces continued to make sure that no one left the fenced-in facility without permission. The district government has reinforced the security service, which controls both inside and outside the fence.

The city's security service, if necessary supported by officers of the district police, will continue its deployment at the accommodation on Tuesday. "95 percent of residents were cooperative," Ali Dogan said Monday night. "Individuals refused to accept that they tested positive." There was a general feeling of frustration among some residents. If a person behaved aggressively, the police came to the area and were able to calm the situation in all cases. The tension, especially around noon, was released. In the evening children played ball in the garden.

From the point of view of the Chief of Crisis Staff, the cooperation with the operators of the state shelter went well. "It couldn't have been done better in this situation," said Dogan. However, it has been shown that "a shelter of this size is a problem in case of a pandemic".

The move continues on Tuesday

It is expected that people who are registered with the CUE but only collect their pocket money there will return to Sankt Augustin on Tuesday. At the gate it will be recorded who has left the accommodation and when - which was possible at any time until the quarantine. The Sankt Augustin crisis management team has set a deadline together with the district health office. According to Dogan, 80 percent of the people who have stayed with family or friends have been away for so long that they are not classified as contact persons of infected persons. They have to leave their address and are then allowed to leave.

District Administrator Sebastian Schuster reported to the district committee on Monday that the fight against the pandemic was successful overall. He said that the three major operations of the past few days had gone well, but with varying results. While the mass test in the meat industry did not bring any corona cases, the numbers in Sankt Augustin shot up. "This could become a hotspot like in the Heinsberg district," said Schuster.

(Original text: Bettina Köhl / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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