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Germany sees biggest rise in coronavirus cases since spring; US military cases up in Kaiserslautern

Staff Sgt. Maxime Copley, 86th Medical Group, takes patient information at the coronavirus screening drive-thru at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 31, 2020. Germany on Wednesday reported more than 4,000 new infections, while Kaiserslautern earlier this week listed eight new active cases among U.S. forces in its area.

TAYLOR D. SLATER/U.S. AIR FORCE

By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 8, 2020

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Kaiserslautern reported a sharp rise in active coronavirus cases this week, shortly before national officials on Thursday announced the biggest increase in new cases throughout Germany since April.

The Kaiserslautern district health department, which is responsible for areas that include several U.S. Army bases and Ramstein Air Base, listed 14 new coronavirus cases — including eight among U.S. forces — bringing the total number of active infections to 54 as of Tuesday.

Health department officials were unavailable Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the case numbers.

The rise comes as German officials warned that the country and much of Europe may be experiencing a second wave of infections after months of steady or declining case numbers.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national health agency, said 4,058 new infections were reported Wednesday — a rise of more than 1,200 reported the day before.

The institute said outbreaks are associated with large celebrations among family and friends, and especially among younger people returning from travel.

“I’m very concerned about this,” Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters in Berlin on Thursday, urging Germans to respect distancing and hygiene rules, The Associated Press reported.

Some of the recent cases in the Kaiserslautern area included five at Ramstein Intermediate School, where more than 700 students attend class on Ramstein Air Base. The school has been closed since Sept. 25 due to the outbreak and is still scheduled to reopen Wednesday, Department of Defense Education Activity-Europe spokesman Stephen Smith said Thursday.

Another case was confirmed in a student at Ramstein Middle School last week, the only recent confirmed case at Kaiserslautern-area schools, Smith said. The school has not shut down.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com
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