Fight against coronavirus: spahn relies on rapid tests

The number of test options for the coronavirus is gradually growing. Federal Health Minister Spahn is now holding out the prospect of a new variant. In the ARD he speaks of additional staffing needs in health authorities.

In the corona pandemic, tests for at home could also be used in Germany in the future. You will see more and more additions to the test options in the next few weeks and months, said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn after a conference with the health ministers of the federal states. "It will – I cannot tell you exactly when, but foreseeable because the companies are working on it – also be able to give the home test." Spahn did not name a point in time. We’ll see whether that will be in four, eight, twelve or 16 weeks, "but I’m very sure we’ll see".

According to Spahn, such a home test would first have to be approved by the authorities because Covid-19 is a reportable disease. With a view to the new test strategy announced for mid-October, Spahn said he was confident that so-called antigen tests could be used "in addition in large millions per month". It is currently being clarified who will pay the costs.

"Do not overestimate rapid tests"

Rapid tests are to become an integral part of a new corona test strategy. These are now qualitatively better and could be used, for example, to test visitors to nursing homes and to experience a result directly. The minister warned against overestimating rapid tests. Quality standards must be observed, said Spahn. In addition, he is skeptical whether it makes sense to quickly test 5000 visitors to a concert for one evening.

In the program "ARD extra: Die Corona-Lage", Spahn admitted that some health authorities would have to go to the limits of their exposure when tracking contacts with corona infected people. That is why there is support from Bundeswehr soldiers or the Robert Koch Institute. The federal government wants to help as best it can. "There is no doubt that the persecution and the identification of the contacts of infected people are one of our greatest recipes for success so far in Germany," said the CDU politician.

Lack of staff in health departments

However, apparently several federal states are currently compliant not the obligation to make enough staff available for contact follow-up. Research by NDR, WDR and "Suddeutscher Zeitung" revealed this. "We are constantly expanding and expanding the public health service here," said Spahn. Nevertheless, there is a need for additional staff in some areas.

The minister promised: "The public health package will create 5,000 new jobs in the health departments over the next two years."

Concepts for fever clinics ready

In view of rising corona numbers in Germany, Spahn continues to fever clinics for patients with respiratory infections. "It’s about having an infrastructure that ensures that people don’t get infected with each other in the waiting room," he said in mid-September.

In the ARD, he pointed out that the relevant outpatient departments were still being set up. "It is the case that the associations of statutory health insurance physicians and the regional authorities approach this very differently, but effectively." Such facilities are important where the number of patients is particularly increasing. "There are concepts and they are developed and developed depending on the infection situation."