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Kaiserslautern city, home to several US facilities, is marked ‘red’ as coronavirus case numbers jump

In a Oct. 15, 2020 photo, people walk through downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany. The city was designated a coronavirus high-risk area by German authorities on Saturday.

MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 24, 2020

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Kaiserslautern city was designated a coronavirus high-risk area Saturday as figures in town and the surrounding district jumped, prompting Ramstein Air Base officials to urge the U.S. military community to take further health precautions.

Kaiserslautern city has had 65 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, making it a “red” area on Rheinland-Pfalz coronavirus tracking maps, the state’s health ministry website said Saturday. That more than doubles the figures reported Friday on the website of Germany’s national health agency, the Robert Koch Institute. RKI had not yet updated their website to reflect the new data as of Saturday afternoon.

Kaiserslautern district, which surrounds the city and includes Ramstein Air Base, recorded about 36 cases per 100,000 people, moving it into the “orange” risk column, Rheinland-Pfalz reported Saturday. The Kaiserslautern area is home to tens of thousands of U.S. service members, Defense Department civilians and their families, along with multiple Air Force and Army installations.

Local areas are marked red by German authorities when cases reach 50 per 100,000 residents.

In red areas, social gatherings are limited to five people or two households, Ramstein Air Base said on its Facebook page Saturday. Air Force officials also advised against visiting crowded establishments and bars, and recommended ordering takeout or delivery food instead of eating in restaurants.

U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz advised similar precautions Friday. Both commands reminded everyone to regularly wash their hands, wear face coverings and maintain social distance.

The jump in Kaiserslautern mirrors trends in much of Germany and particularly the country’s south and west.

Germany recorded 14,714 new infections Saturday, though the figures included some reporting from both Thursday and Friday because of a three-hour data outage at RKI, The Associated Press reported.

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