Corona Virus: Düsseldorf is well positioned

Mayor urges local government authority to give schools better information

Düsseldorf is well set to deal with the Corona Virus. Despite the large amount of Corona Virus information already provided, the general public  still has areas of uncertainty. Now that a first case has been reported from a Düsseldorf school, many parents are asking why the schools haven't been closed. In the opinion of the Düsseldorf health office, closure is not necessary at the present moment. In the case of the Dieter-Forte-Gesamtschule (comprehensive), 21 contact persons have, as a precautionary measures, been placed in quarantine.  According to Dr. Klaus Göbels, the head of the Düsseldorf health office, "the health office's assessment is that a school closure is not appropriate". At an information meeting on Friday 6 March, the health office and the school administrative staff informed the teachers, the parents and the pupils about the current situation and the necessary steps to be taken.

In this connection the Düsseldorf mayor, Thomas Geisel, urged the local government authority to provide school principals  with information: "In the present situation the local authority is duty bound to help people keep calm. For example, a fact sheet on correct conduct in the school would be helpful." The mayor also said it was regrettable that the local authority had not supplied a single member of the crisis unit. "I myself have headed the crisis unit, twice, and I was most impressed by the good cooperation and the qualified work that was done there. I would appreciate it if the local authority also played its part in this respect."

Quarantine ward now set being set up
The last refugees today left the accommodation in the Blanckertstrasse. They have been moved to other housing inside the municipal limits, which means that a quarantine ward can be set up in the housing unit in Ludenberg. That is where people can be admitted who, because they are suspected of being infected with corona or have been tested positive for the virus, cannot be placed in domestic quarantine, i.e. at home. An example of this case is when quarantine in their own home is not possible because there also people living there who have a relevant medical history and must not be exposed to infection in any circumstances. It can also be used as temporary accommodation for people who are, for example, stranded at Düsseldorf airport.
Continuing heavy use of hotline
The state capital, Düsseldorf, reacted swiftly to the enormous demand for information by the general public. The information helpline at number 0211-8996090 started work at an early stage, on Friday 28 February. The number can be called at any time round the clock, weekends as well, for information about the Corona Virus. Nearly 1,000 calls were answered on the first weekend. During the week some 3,000 callers were given information on the virus. 570 calls from the public were taken by the staff of the municipal helpline by 4 pm on one day, Friday 6 March. A total of 715 calls were dealt with by the helpline staff in the 24 hours of Thursday, 5 March.

Where necessary, the helpline staff determine or decide whether a test is advisable. Where that was the case, the caller was immediately given an appointment at the newly established diagnostic centre, which started work last Monday, (2 March). Today (as of 4 pm) 23 tests were carried out for the Corona Virus (COVID-19) , and five other callers were given appointments for a test at the diagnostic centre on Saturday, 7 March. The diagnostic centre is run in cooperation with the health office's staff doctors. The procedure is to take a throat swab, and the actual test is done in the laboratory. In most cases the result is available the next day.

By Friday 6 March three people had been tested positive for the Corona Virus in Düsseldorf. Up to now they have shown no or very mild symptoms of illness and are in quarantine at home. A total of 100 persons with whom they had had close contact has been established, and these people too are in quarantine at home. In consultation with the health office, some firms have taken voluntary measures, for example allowing staff members to work at home.

By comparison: currently there are about 200 people ill with flu (influenza virus type A) in Düsseldorf. 185 of them are  being treated in hospital.

Friday, 6th March 2020, 4.40 pm