Rapid response infrastructure for pandemic preparedness in a tertiary care hospital: lessons learned from the COVID-19 outbreak in Cologne, Germany, February to March 2020

Euro Surveill. 2020 May;25(21):2000531. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.21.2000531.


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has caused tremendous pressure on hospital infrastructures such as emergency rooms (ER) and outpatient departments. To avoid malfunctioning of critical services because of large numbers of potentially infected patients seeking consultation, we established a COVID-19 rapid response infrastructure (CRRI), which instantly restored ER functionality. The CRRI was also used for testing of hospital personnel, provided epidemiological data and was a highly effective response to increasing numbers of suspected COVID-19 cases.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; outbreak; pandemic preparedness; risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Civil Defense / organization & administration*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Care Management*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Triage