The current corona virus pandemic is an exceptional situation. We would like to draw your attention to the recommendations and procedures from the city of Potsdam. The information is taken from the Potsdam Health Department website. There you can also find a live ticker with the latest news: https://www.potsdam.de/informationen-zum-coronavirus1.
1. How is Potsdam, the state capital, prepared?
The Potsdam Health Department is closely monitoring current developments and is in constant and direct contact with the Ministries of Social Affairs, Health, Integration and Consumer Protection of the State of Brandenburg, the surrounding health authorities, the Potsdam Fire Department, the rescue service, the Ernst-von-Bergmann Clinic and the St. Josef’s Hospital in Potsdam. The city of Potsdam has emergency and crisis plans in place for emergencies. These plans are adapted and updated in accordance with the specifications of the Robert Koch Institute and the current situation and specify in detail which authorities will be involved and when. Currently (as of March 16, 2020), the city of Potsdam is at the lowest level, level 1, of the plan. This stage provides for so-called “containment”. This means that everything possible is being done to prevent the disease from spreading further. The clinics also have emergency plans and are able to recruit staff beyond the normal level in case of a crisis. In general, the clinics in Potsdam are very well equipped.
2. What exactly will the Potsdam Health Department do when a positive case of the Corona virus is reported?
The first goal of the Potsdam Health Department is to interrupt the chain of infection. The city of Potsdam is committed to the general population and its task to protect that population. Initial steps include an environmental investigation, quarantine, or even activity bans. These measures are coordinated by a crisis management team, in accordance with the specifications of the pandemic plan. The crisis team is convened according to the situation and the occasion. Depending on the type of emergency, the staff is composed of different civil servants (government) and experts. In the case of the corona virus, the crisis team would meet when the Mayor sees the need to combine all efforts. This would only occur after consultation with other divisions of government such as Public Order, Security and the Health Department.
3. How does the Potsdam Health Department act in a suspected case?
Procedures are closely based on the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute: the physician who suspects a patient is suffering from the corona virus must report it to the Health Department in accordance with the Corona Virus Notification Ordinance. The laboratory that detects the corona virus must also report this to the appropriate public health department. The notification must be made immediately and must reach the Health Department within 24 hours at the latest. The name, address and contact details of the person concerned must also be reported to the Health Department. This information is necessary to identify the appropriate contact persons and initiate necessary measures (e.g. isolation of the patient). Information is recorded at the public health department, however private information (i.e. name, address and contact details) is not forwarded to other authorities or the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
4. How can I protect myself?
The most important and effective measures for personal protection and for the protection of others are the general recommendations for the prevention of respiratory infections, including flu-like infections:
- Good hand hygiene: wash hands regularly and thoroughly and keep hands away from the face after washing. Avoid shaking hands in greeting.
- No separate disinfectant is necessary, a normal liquid soap is sufficient for good hand hygiene
- Coughing and sneezing: sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm (not into your hand), use paper tissues for blowing your nose and dispose of them immediately
- Keep a minimum distance (approx. 1 to 2 metres) from persons suspected of being ill
5. Where can I get current and further information?
The Robert Koch Institute offers detailed information on the corona virus on its website. For information by telephone, please call one of the following numbers:
- German Ministry of Health (Citizen Telephone Number): 030 346 465 100
- Medical Emergency Service: 116 117
- Independent Patient Advice, Germany: 0800 011 77 22
If there is a justified suspicion of an additional case of corona virus in Potsdam, the population will be informed immediately. This is done in close coordination between the city of Potsdam and the responsible Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Integration and Consumer Protection of the State of Brandenburg.
Your family doctor is your first point of contact if you feel unsure about your symptoms. Please call your doctor first. Do not go to the practice until you have spoken to your doctor. Your doctor will decide on further measures. You can obtain up-to-date and comprehensive information on a daily basis via the telephone numbers listed above. In an emergency, please contact the emergency services and the health department directly.