During a video conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel has found out first-hand about the work of the staff of the Harz District Health Office in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. She pledged her support for the country’s health offices. She stressed, "We all know that the public health offices and the public health service play a pivotal role in fighting the pandemic."
It is crucially important that the health offices work well. "And they are working well, all the staff," underscored Angela Merkel. It is also important "that they tell us when they need more support". That was also something she discussed with the health office staff, she reported. "They have received additional support. We have the scouts, and we have the Bundeswehr which is ready to step in as required." This is a very important link in the chain where it is decided whether all contacts can be traced in the case of new infections.
"This was a very, very important meeting for me today, and I would once again like to express my warmest thanks. I can tell you, the people who work in the health office are truly committed. They will manage this work, and where more support is needed, we will provide it in conjunction with the federal states," declared the Chancellor.
It is, however, particularly important to the Chancellor to point out, "We are entering a new phase of the pandemic." We now need to be certain, stressed Angela Merkel, "that in spite of the easing of restrictions, people are still respecting the fundamentals – distancing, covering their faces, and being considerate – that is vitally important!"
The Harz District Health Office was particularly stretched when there was a COVID-19 outbreak at the end of March at the central reception station for migrants in Halberstadt. More than 120 people were infected. The centre, which houses about 800 people, was under quarantine until the beginning of May. The outbreak was brought under control with the help of regular testing and by isolating infected individuals and their contacts.