Mandatory masks, testing, hospital occupancy Summer Covid wave also hits Bonn

Bonn · More and more people are becoming infected with Covid again. This is probably partly due to the fact that mandatory mask wearing is being ignored with increasing frequency. Meanwhile, Bonn hospitals are again admitting more Covid patients. It remains unclear as to what will happen when the current regulations expire at the end of June.

  Bonn is also experiencing a summer Covid wave.

Bonn is also experiencing a summer Covid wave.

Foto: dpa/Kay Nietfeld

Covid cases are surging again this summer, also in Bonn. But the incidence on Tuesday was 464.6, dropping below the 500 mark, which had been seen in recent days. In hospitals, the rate of Covid patients is increasing. Some people are not surprised since important protective measures such as wearing masks indoors in many places, stores included, have been dropped. And even in places where mouth and nose protection is still mandatory, not everyone follows the rule.

Angelika Leinweber lives in Bornheim, but often travels by bus and tram in Bonn. As a high-risk patient, the 54-year-old is very cautious about her health and is increasingly irritated by passengers who do not wear a mask - even though it is still mandatory in NRW until June 30.

It remains to be seen how things will continue after June 30 in terms of coronavirus protection regulations. "The other day I even overheard on the bus to Waldau that a man got on without a mask and asked the bus driver if he could ride, even though he had forgotten his mask," the passenger tells our editorial team. The driver nodded. She found it unacceptable, she says.

Mandatory masks on buses and trams/trains: Some passengers react aggressively

In some cases, she has asked passengers to put on their masks. Sometimes they have complied with her request, but often they have become aggressive or simply ignored her request. The bus drivers themselves usually do not do anything about passengers not wearing masks. In response to a complaint she filed, she received a reply from the public transportation company that mask checks can only be carried out by monitoring personnel on a random basis. "As a rule of thumb, drivers should not address passengers (about not wearing a mask), for their own protection. We also advise passengers not to do so. It is not infrequent that this leads to conflict, which is not only verbal," it says in the SWB (municipal utility company which runs the public transportation) response to Angelika Leinweber.

"This looks like they have given up," says the 54-year-old. Based on her own observations, however, she can also understand this attitude to some extent. "This is a political problem, and the city of Bonn should help the municipal utilities find a solution," she says.

When asked by our editorial team how often passengers without masks have gotten physical, the SWB press office simply said: "Unfortunately, this happens from time to time. If the personnel who are monitoring for masks come across a violation, they first ask in a friendly manner for the person to put their mask on. Normally, the passengers put on the mask. "In rare cases, we make use of our domiciliary rights and expel the persons from the public transport," SWB said. In cases where people continue to behave in an unreasonable manner, the police are notified, he added. "So far, however, this has only been necessary in exceptional cases." SWB has received around 100 complaints about people not wearing a mask in pubic transport and at bus stops since the beginning of the year.

Covid in Bonn: Hospitals are looking with great concern to federal and state governments

Meanwhile, hospitals in Bonn are concerned and waiting to see what the federal and state governments will do going forward. What will happen from July 1 in terms of free Covid testing and mandatory masks on public transport and in health care facilities? "The coronavirus pandemic is not over. This is shown by the development in new infection numbers, also in Bonn," warns Christoph Bremekamp. The hospital superintendent of the “Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus” in Südstadt believes everyone must be vigilant and attentive in interactions with each other in order to counteract a larger wave and thus an increase in infected patients requiring hospitalization. In any case, the free Covid testing should remain, as well as mandatory masks when in contact with vulnerable groups of people.

University Hospital of Bonn observes rising numbers of Covid patients

Professor Yon-Dschun Ko, medical director of St. John's Hospitals, still believes mandatory testing for hospitals makes sense. "We are currently seeing an increase in patients on normal wards again, so we need to be strict about visiting regulations." With rising incidence rates, Johanniter Hospitals are maintaining "established and proven hygiene concepts," such as the wearing of masks, until further notice.

The University Hospital of Bonn (UKB) says the same: "In view of the continuing transmission level, we continue to see basic protective measures as sensible," stated UKB spokeswoman Viola Röser. The UKB urges to continue offering free testing beyond June 30. The UKB is also seeing rising numbers in Covid patients: According to Röser, a total of 50 patients with a Covid diagnosis are currently being treated as inpatients. Of these, twelve patients are in an intensive care unit. Six are on ventilators.

As long as employee and visitor testing is mandatory, it is essential for hospitals, says Daniela Kreuzberg, commercial director of GFO Kliniken Bonn. "Groups of people for whom regular testing is mandatory must continue to have access to free testing. We expect transparent and forward-looking approaches from politicians in this regard - because that's what our employees expect from us, too.”

(Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen; Translation: ck)

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