U.S. Army officials in Germany are investigating reports that an American working at an Army hotel in Bavaria broke COVID-19 quarantine orders amid an outbreak of "several" cases at the property, an Army official told The Washington Post via email Wednesday.
German health officials have accused one American at the hotel, who was experiencing coronavirus symptoms, of ignoring orders to isolate while awaiting coronavirus test results and barhopping on Sept. 8, according to a news release. She reportedly visited at least two different bars and received a positive test result the next day.
Lt. Col. Michael Weisman of U.S. Army Europe public affairs confirmed that several employees tested positive at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. "At this time we do not know from where the virus entered the community in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, or when. We may never know," he said.
The Edelwiss hotel is closed for two weeks because of the positive cases. Weisman said, "If any of our civilian employees violated the Bavarian COVID ordinances, or our own general order, we will hold them accountable."
According to CNN, the woman could face charges for exposing others to the virus. "There is an investigation for possible assault through negligence," Andrea Meyer, from the Bavarian prosecutor's office, told the outlet.
Brig. Gen. Christopher Norrie, who commands U.S. troops in Bavaria, has issued an order banning U.S. Army personnel from bar-only businesses in the town, saying in a news release Wednesday: "We know that environments that are close, crowded and confined are conducive to the spread of the virus."
Norrie says the order is in response to the town's spike in coronavirus cases. Garmisch-Partenkirchen announced increased testing in the area on Friday, when the official seven-day tally of positive coronavirus tests in the area surpassed German officials' critical marker of 50 cases per 100,000 residents. The town also ordered bars in the area to begin closing at 10 p.m.
Peter Messerschmitt, the owner of a bar in the town, told The Washington Post that he was visited by Bavarian health officials on Friday. They told him that a coronavirus-positive individual from the resort had been in his bar, Peaches, earlier in the week. He and his staff were all tested, in addition to patrons they contact traced.
German officials have found three positive cases out of the more than 1,000 coronavirus tests given since Friday.
Many Americans in the Army live in the area, which is home to the U.S.-German security institute, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Messerschmitt said the American was a woman in her mid-20s who visited his bar during karaoke night along with one other local Irish pub.