Federal Health Minister Lauterbach warns that without new corona rules, people in nursing homes will be at great risk. He hopes that the home operators will enforce a mask and test obligation through their domiciliary rights. In addition, more risk patients should get their fourth vaccination.
According to Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, without the rapid introduction of stricter corona requirements in nursing homes, there is a risk of many infections among the endangered, very old people. Lauterbach therefore called on the operators of care facilities to prescribe the wearing of masks and tests for visitors. "I'm appealing to the facility providers to make use of their domiciliary rights," said the SPD politician after consultations with home providers in Berlin.
With the masks, it should be FFP2 masks that are worn, said Lauterbach. All visitors should also be tested, the minister demanded. At the same time, there should be more pressure for those in need of care to have a fourth vaccination administered.
Currently only 30 percent of those in need of care have such a second booster vaccination, which significantly reduces the risk of mortality, said Lauterbach. It is negligent to wait with the fourth vaccination for the expected vaccines in autumn that are adapted to the omicron variant - at least for high-risk groups. If the measures are not taken, Lauterbach expects numerous infections among the residents of the home. "Otherwise we have to expect significant outbreaks," he said.
Lauterbach admitted that it is currently not possible for the federal or state governments to prescribe masks and tests for homes. This is not provided for in the Infection Protection Act. But a new infection protection law is being prepared for autumn. In care facilities, however, a situation has already arisen in which protective measures make a lot of sense. Wearing masks and testing are no longer voluntary for visitors if the homes exercise their domiciliary rights accordingly. Today it is actually the case that the mask requirement is not enforced in all care facilities and that not all are tested, said Lauterbach. "It's handled very differently."
The minister announced legal regulations for corona protection in care for the autumn. Among other things, it is planned that there should be officers for hygiene rules with tests and masks as well as for the progress of vaccinations in every facility. In addition, drugs should be used more frequently to alleviate the course of corona in infected people. For example, telephone hotlines for care facilities are also conceivable, explained Lauterbach. Maria Loheide from the board of the Diakonie called for additional support from politicians if, in addition to the previous tasks in the homes, someone should also be responsible for vaccination and someone for hygiene management.