Germany continues to experience about 10-15 thousand COVID-19 case counts per day. In Kaiserslautern, we had approximately 100 active cases a month ago, and we increased to more than 600 active cases this week. The Robert Koch Institute, which is similar to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, uses 50 new cases per 100 thousand population (in a 7 day period) as the “risk” mark. Kaiserslautern is currently 135 per 100 thousand (city) and 173 per 100 thousand (county). You can find the RKI websites with current statistics at our COVID website here: https://www.ramstein.af.mil/COVID-19/.
As we are entering into influenza season, it is important to remember that the protective measures to prevent COVID will also prevent influenza. So far we have not had any significant numbers of influenza in our area. Influenza season in Europe tends to be one or two months behind the United States. As many symptoms of COVID are similar to symptoms of flu, it is likely that your medical team will need to test you for both should you get sick. Both COVID and the flu can range from no symptoms to severe symptoms. If you want to learn more, visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm
On a different topic, some TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Select enrollees, specifically “Group A retirees” (those sponsors starting their enlistment or appointment before January 1, 2018), need to set up their monthly enrollment fees in order to keep TRICARE Select coverage. This does not apply to any other TRICARE plan (TRICARE Prime, For Life, or other premium based plan). If this does apply to your situation, you need to set up your payment plan during the open season (now through Dec. 14). For more info, visit: www.tricare-overseas.com/beneficiaries/plans-and-programs/tricare-overseas-program-top-select
Continue to focus on those prevention measures to keep our population healthy. Protect the base – cover your face!