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One free test per week : Slow start with problems in Bonn

One free test per week : Slow start with problems in Bonn

Everyone was still in the dark until Monday afternoon. Now it is clear: this week, all citizens can be tested for Corona free of charge at any provider who has carried out rapid tests so far - including pharmacies and doctors.

Those who wanted to take a free Corona rapid test on Monday - as promised by the federal government - were initially disappointed: in the morning, citizens still had to pay for it. There was mainly confusion about the procedure of billing. "We are working on everything, but the information situation is dreadful," the operator of the test centre in the Brückenforum wrote to the GA by email. Lord Mayor Katja Dörner had also criticised the federal and state governments in a radio interview in the morning, saying that, as so often, answers to big questions as well as detailed regulations were missing. There is "definitely still room for improvement" in the Corona crisis management. In the afternoon, the information situation finally became clearer.

"Nevertheless, some of our customers still had themselves tested in the morning," reported Torsten Sonnenschein from the pharmacy "Zur Alten Post" in Beuel. They probably had important visits to make, for example, to an old people's home. In the afternoon, the city sent out a press release with the news that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia had now ordered all test centres that had already offered rapid tests in the past to initially offer free Corona rapid tests across the board. This general order will initially be valid until 15 March.

After that, all test centres that contact the city of Bonn will be formally commissioned with the free tests, city spokesperson Monika Hörig told the GA when asked. According to Hörig, the test centres include private test centres such as the one in the Brückenforum in Beuel, doctors, pharmacists, laboratories and aid organisations. According to the federal Coronavirus Test Ordinance, the tests are billed directly to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. As things stand, all citizens are allowed to be tested once a week with a quick test free of charge.

Should one or (the) other test result be positive, the test centres are obliged to immediately report the positive test results to the public health department. Those affected must immediately go into quarantine. A PCR test would then have to be carried out for confirmation. Hörig: "Either this is also arranged by the testing centre or by the municipal health office.“

An initially publicly disseminated information advice that citizens could only obtain information about the test centres commissioned by the public health department via a municipal hotline was retracted by the city in the afternoon. A misunderstanding, Hörig explained, was due to the somewhat confusing information situation on Monday morning about the testing procedures. A list of some test sites already sent to a citizen was also a misunderstanding, he said. "This list only contains the first test centres that have contacted the health department," Hörig explained. It should not have been sent out at all. "We will only put a list on the internet from 15 March with all the test centres that have reported to us by then. This list will then be continuously updated," Hörig said. In addition, citizens can also call the hotline 0228/7175 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for information about the test centres. She does not know how many test centres there will be in Bonn in the end. A family doctor told the GA that he would only test his own patients anyway, as he had no capacity for mass testing.

(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen; Translation: Mareike Graepel)