Rising numbers of infections in children Day-care centres in Bonn at the limit of their capacity because of Corona
Bonn · For days, the number of infections in the young age groups in Bonn has been rising sharply. Day-care centres are overloaded, a father criticises. The city confirms the current difficult situation.
In Bonn, the infection figures of children and young people are rising sharply. There are now also 24 Omikron cases in the city. After a father's criticism of the lollipop tests in day-care centres, which have so far only been carried out on a voluntary basis (the GA reported), another Bonn resident has spoken out and reported chaotic conditions in a municipal day-care centre. The city confirms the tense situation.
Of the total of 24 Omikron cases in Bonn, two people have been released from quarantine, according to the administration. Accordingly, 62 contact persons are in quarantine in connection with an Omikron case. Stricter rules apply to them: There is no possibility to shorten the 14 days of isolation - not even for vaccinated and recovered persons.
The number of infections in children up to four years old reached a new high on Wednesday: the seven-day incidence is 291.5. An increase can also be observed in the following age groups: Among five- to nine-year-olds, the incidence is 587.8, while among ten- to 14-year-olds, the figure has risen to 441.6. For child vaccinations, the city still lists about 50 free appointments on 28 December, the next ones are not until January 3 and from 19 January. In the city hall, however, vaccinations are sometimes possible without an appointment. So far, 802 children between the ages of five and eleven have been immunised there.
In view of the rising numbers and the feared new wave of Corona, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is reacting with closer-meshed tests in day-care centres. The frequency is to be increased from two to three tests per week, announced Family Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP). From the second week of January, a new lollipop test will be available that is more sensitive and also responds to the Omikron variant.
Poorly prepared day-care centres in Bonn
A Bonn father criticises the conditions in a municipal day-care centre in Beuel. "For a fortnight now, one or more children have been identified as positive, first in the pool test, then in the individual test. Across all groups of the day care centre. The day-care centre is not closed, but kept open," he reports. The teachers are fully exposed to the risk and work all day with FFP2 masks, which is a considerable burden. After the first positive case, chaos broke out. "Mails with wrong content were sent, then revised. Mails come in the middle of the night that a group is closed the next day." He therefore suspects that the measures in the Kitas were "not sufficiently" communicated.
Barbara Löcherbach, spokesperson for the city, answered the GA's question by saying that the Youth Welfare Office had informed all the day-care centres about how to proceed in the event of a positive case. The guidelines of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia were implemented. A general closure is not planned. "The children who have not tested positive can continue to attend the day-care centre if the PCR test is negative. Only in the case of larger outbreaks or if the Omikron variant occurs will quarantines be imposed." Moreover, a closure can only be carried out by the responsible body. As the responsible body for about 70 facilities, the city "carefully weighs up, in each individual incident, how the protection against infection is to be assessed in relation to the regular operation prescribed by the state". As of 10 January, the city will use the reset procedure for PCR pool tests, which should lead to faster individual test results.
System at the breaking point
"The strain on the day-care centre management and staff is indeed very high at the moment," says Löcherbach. On the one hand, because for the past two years the infection situation has made care more difficult. "On the other hand, there are currently staff shortages in many facilities, among other things due to seasonal sickness absences." The system is at breaking point.
At least between Christmas and New Year’s there are signs of relief. According to the city, almost all day-care centres will be closed from 22 December to 2 January. This will also simplify contact tracing. In the health department, about 70 employees will be on duty during the holidays. "35 people alone are on duty for contact tracing," explains Löcherbach. There, too, the limits are being reached, which is why there has been administrative assistance from the Bundeswehr again for some time now, and why the tracing is being prioritised.
Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach. Translation: Mareike Graepel