Frauenfeld festival worker killed in storm

A 24-year-old woman has died after sustaining injuries when a powerful storm hit the post-party clean up operation at the Frauenfeld Festival site on Tuesday afternoon.

The young woman, from canton Thurgau, was one of a number of people who were cleaning up after the weekend’s music festival when a violent storm hit the site on Tuesday afternoon, online news site 20 Minuten reported.

She and a 21-year-old man, who remains in hospital with severe injuries, headed towards a large black tent for protection as the rain started to come down. However, the rough winds battered the tent and ripped it out of the ground.

Parts of the tent structure collided with the two victims, who were both seriously injured. The young woman finally succumbed to her injuries on Wednesday.

“We at the Frauenfeld Openair are deeply saddened by the death of a helper from our ranks,” media spokesman Joachim Bodmer told the website.

“We express our deepest condolences to the relatives of the deceased. Our thoughts are with the family and we wish them much strength.”

The storm brewed first over the Jura and then descended over Basel towards Frauenfeld, with winds gusting at up to 90 kilometres an hour.

While many have continued with the clean-up work, others have not had the heart to return to the site following the woman’s death. The state of the second victim has still to be confirmed.

An investigation will now be opened to establish whether the death could have been prevented.

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IN NUMBERS: Reasons to be optimistic about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland

Data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) shows that the rate of contaminations is declining, especially in the hardest-hit Swiss cantons.

IN NUMBERS: Reasons to be optimistic about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland
Measures such as make in and outdoors helped bring infection rates down. Photo by AFP

According to FOPH, after peaking in early November, infections are slowing down in most of the country. Between the first and second week of November, the number of cases dropped by 23.4 percent. 

During the month of October, the positivity rate per 100,000 people was 2101. For the past two weeks, that number fell to 849,2. 

This improvement is most marked in French-speaking Switzerland, where various restrictions were put in place at the end of October to curb record-high numbers of infections. The biggest decrease is in the canton of Jura, which recorded 42 percent less cases. Next are Fribourg (-38 percent), Valais (-36 percent) and Neuchâtel (-35 percent).

READ MORE: Covid-19 in Switzerland: Five reasons to be optimistic 

On the other hand, infection rates in some German-speaking cantons, which have been relatively unaffected by the pandemic, are on the rise.

In Basel City, for instance, increasing infection rates prompted local officials to introduce stricter coronavirus measures from Monday. 

Basel City along with Basel Country, Obwalden and Uri are the only Swiss-German cantons where infections are currently rising.

The R-rate

Another indication that infections are declining is the latest R number— a way of rating the speed at which the disease spreads.

Only two weeks ago, the R rate in Switzerland was 1.05. If this value is greater than 1, the daily number of cases increases exponentially. But if it is lower, they decrease.

Now the nationwide average is 0.78. Experts say that if Switzerland can maintain this rate, the daily number of new infections will be halved every 14 days. 

“This looks like a trend reversal”, said FOPH’s director Anne Lévy. 

“I am confident that we are going in the right direction”, she added.

Hospital admissions and deaths

The number of hospital admissions is also slowly dropping, though it still remains high.

According to FOPH, the rate of hospitalisations was 243 per 100,000 people on November 11th. That number dropped to 13 cases per 100,000 on the 19th. 

The number of coronavirus-related deaths is also declining, although the numbers are still high.

From 95 cases per 100,000 on November 12th, the number fell to 37 on November 19th. 

Authorities say there is approximately a three-week delay between the time a patient is admitted to a hospital and their death. So, the latest numbers are likely still related to patients who were hospitalised before the infection rates dropped.