The Munich prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation into an American that could have caused an increase in the number of cases.
“An investigation is underway for a possible negligent assault,” said Andrea Meyer, from the prosecution.
The anonymous person, who had recently returned to Bavaria after a vacation abroad, chose to socialize despite symptoms of Covid-19, according to Stephan Scharf, press secretary in the office of the district administrator in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Sharf said the individual had taken a coronavirus test and was asked to stay indoors until he received his results, but had not done so.
The person then tested positive and is now in quarantine, Scharf said. It is not known which countries they may have visited, but the district administrator’s office says it was not the United States.
Sudden jump in cases
The individual works at Edelweiss Lodge, a US Armed Forces recreation center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen that is operated by the US military and frequented by military personnel, Scharf said.
Following the incident, 24 people at the lodge have tested positive for the coronavirus, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen has seen a sharp increase in cases, with 33 reported on September 11 alone.
“We didn’t have that many, even during crown height,” Scharf said on Saturday. “This kind of behavior is of course anything but commendable.”
The city has significantly increased its pandemic measures in the wake of the outbreak.
“We have massively increased the test station, now we have to wait for the test results,” Scharf told CNN on Monday. “We don’t know how many people the suspected spreader infected, although we do know [the person] was being contagious. “
New regulations imposed in the city over the weekend mean local bars will now close at 10 p.m. Parties are capped at 100 people – up from 200 – and groups that eat inside are capped at five, up from twice that number. Groups of ten are allowed to eat at an outside table, compared to 20 previously.
Authorities have calculated that the Bavarian city currently has a seven-day Covid-19 incidence rate of 55 cases per 100,000 population.
The city has only 88,424 inhabitants, but its calculated incidence rate is high enough to reach the German threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the number necessary to reimpose pandemic measures.
Lodge temporarily closed
The Edelweiss Lodge closed for two weeks after the outbreak, the US military said.
“Several Edelweiss Lodge and Resort staff here have tested positive for Covid-19,” a US military spokesperson for Europe said in an emailed statement to CNN on Sunday.
“As a precaution, additional staff members who had prolonged direct contact with positive staff members were also quarantined.”
“The facility is working with US military medical professionals and local medical officials to assess the situation and conduct contact tracing,” the statement added.
“Due to the number of staff involved, the decision has been made to close the complex for two weeks starting Monday, September 14.”
The staff member at the center of the incident did not speak publicly.
In its statement, the US military does not refer to the individual in question. CNN is asking the military for further clarification on the person and whether he faces disciplinary action.
Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder warned that the number of coronaviruses was increasing in the state on Monday.
Without specifically referring to the US citizen’s case, Soeder said local authorities should investigate whether they should impose “high” fines on people for such behavior.
“Garmisch-Partenkirchen is an example of irrationality,” he told reporters at a press conference in Munich. “This recklessness must also have consequences.”
Germany has reported more than 262,500 cases of the coronavirus in total, according to Johns Hopkins University.
CNN’s Stephanie Halasz and Frederik Pleitgen reported from London and Berlin. Zamira Rahim wrote in London.
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