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Review of operating standards: Rhein-Sieg district finds deficiencies in test centers

Review of operating standards : Rhein-Sieg district finds deficiencies in test centers

The administrative staff of the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis is currently taking a closer look at the nearly 300 Corona test centers throughout the district. During initial inspections, they have already identified the first deficiencies. What are the consequences?

In the Rhine-Sieg district, there are currently just under 300 Corona test centers, so-called citizen test centers. And they all have already or will soon receive a visit from employees of the district administration.

As district spokeswoman Rita Lorenz explained in response to an inquiry from the General-Anzeiger, the health department is currently conducting unannounced inspections of the facilities to ensure compliance with the minimum standards for operating a test center.

Not responsible for billing

According to Lorenz, 50 testing sites have been visited so far and initial deficiencies have been identified. "The deficiencies focused on missing distance markings, waiting areas that were too small or the regular transmission of positive results," she continued. The test site operators were asked to correct the deficiencies immediately, she said.

While the county is not responsible for overseeing proper billing of Corona tests - that is done by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, according to Lorenz - it is responsible for setting up the establishments. "There are certain minimum requirements from the state for approval to become a testing center, which are stated in the corona testing structure ordinance," Lorenz said.

These include the size of the test center, which must be barrier-free or at least low-barrier. Likewise, there must be the possibility of regular ventilation, or alternatively, air filtration devices must be used. Among other things, the waiting area must be clearly separated from the test area, and distances must be maintained.

No on-site visit before commissioning

Further regulations concern the collection containers for the waste. It is also stipulated that the tests must be carried out by qualified or trained personnel in appropriate protective equipment and in compliance with hygiene measures. According to Lorenz, the test centers are not inspected on site by the district administration before they are put into operation. Approval of a facility is done virtually on a case-by-case basis. "With the establishment of the citizen test centers, the applicants indicated and declared that they met the minimum requirements, here there was still no inspection order on site by the district," Lorenz explained.

Now, however, the district is moving in. If the minimum standards are not met or hygiene regulations are violated, a "whole range of measures" is possible, Lorenz said. Fines are possible, but so is the closure of a test center by the district administration.

It will likely be some time before all citizen test centers have been inspected by county staff. According to Lorenz, there are 1.5 positions at the administration for this task. Independently of this, according to the spokeswoman, the district is currently developing hygiene plans for the test centers.

(Original text: Christoph Meurer, Translation: Mareike Graepel)