Saarbrücken – It’s slowly getting tight in the Saarland clinics: 394 of 448 intensive care beds were occupied on Thursday – 50 of them with corona patients. In order to slow down the virus, the state government is now relying on a comprehensive test strategy.
“The corona numbers are skyrocketing,” warns Health Minister Monika Bachmann (70, CDU). State Secretary Stephan Kolling (48, CDU) fears that in the next few days all counties will break the 200 mark for new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week.
The regional association had already reached the critical limit on Wednesday. The St. Wendel district followed suit on Thursday.
The ministry wants to react with rapid tests that are to be made available to care facilities (around 13,000 residents and 13,000 employees). A million such tests would be available on demand.
Kolling: “Employees and residents, but also visitors, can have themselves tested every day if the porter can organize it.” B. hairdressers and podiatrists who have appointments in the nursing and retirement homes.
Visits to old people’s homes are also possible in a “visitor room” if a negative rapid test is available and the mask requirement is observed. “The wearer can pull the handbrake at any time,” emphasizes Kolling. “The residents of the facilities should refrain from driving home.”
Bachmann is not quite as optimistic about the start of the corona vaccinations as Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (40, CDU): “December 15th will not be able to be kept.” A switching conference with her ministerial colleagues on Saturday should bring clarity.
The vaccination centers in Saarbrücken, Saarlouis and Neunkirchen are ready to go. 70 employees are there every day when the vaccinations start. “We are happy about everyone who helps,” says Kolling. The Bundeswehr may set up another vaccination station in Saarland.
Schools were not included in the current test strategy, which is now to be promoted. Teachers could still be tested free of charge by the end of the year. Of around 9500 teachers, however, only around 2300 have made use of it so far.