Last week’s coronavirus case at military’s Edelweiss Lodge wasn’t the first, German officials say
By JOHN VANDIVER AND MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 14, 2020
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STUTTGART, Germany — A worker at the U.S. military’s vacation lodge in Bavaria who may have spread the coronavirus when she went bar-hopping instead of quarantining last week wasn’t the first case of the virus at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, German officials said Monday.
Another person at the popular resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen tested positive for the highly contagious virus about two weeks ago, Garmisch district spokesman Stephan Scharf said.
It wasn’t clear if the hotel had performed broad staff testing after that first case, Scharf said, or if it was an employee or guest at Edelweiss.
The lodge closed Monday for two weeks after two dozen workers tested positive, including a 26-year-old American woman who German officials have said had a night on the town last Tuesday, despite showing symptoms of the virus and being directed to self-quarantine.
Officials in Garmisch said they are still working to determine if the woman, whom they contacted last week, was the source of a new outbreak in Garmisch — something the German tabloid Bild has accused her of.
She visited Peaches bar and the Irish Pub in Garmisch, Scharf said.
Anyone who has frequented those establishments recently should call the local health hotline on 08821-751-500, the Bavarian resort town said on its website.
If she is found to have willfully violated a quarantine order, she could face a fine of nearly $2,400 under Bavarian law, officials said.
“Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a model case of stupidity and an example for how quickly one can become infected,“ Bavarian Minister President Markus Soeder said in a video posted on the Bild website.
“Such recklessness must have consequences,” he added. “That’s why it’s reasonable for the health authorities to consider, after carefully examining the case, whether to impose appropriately high fines.”
Twenty-four employees of the Edelweiss resort and dozens more people in Garmisch have tested positive for the virus, Scharf said.
The Edelweiss is an Armed Forces Recreation Center for use by service members and their families, members of other uniformed services such as the public health service, disabled veterans, others who have separated from the military, surviving spouses and families, and Defense Department civilians.
U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria garrison did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the resort has managed the outbreak since the virus was detected there two weeks ago.
But in a statement Friday, the garrison said anyone who has visited the resort since Sept. 3 should self-monitor for symptoms and seek care if any develop.
In addition to being popular with military families in Germany — especially with many holiday destinations outside of Germany off-limits because of the coronavirus — the Edelweiss resort hosts conferences and shares a campus with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.