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COVID-19, suspected and confirmed cases, Hygiene policy

Key points in brief on COVID-19 and on handling suspected and confirmed cases

  • Close contacts are those
    • who have had cumulative contact (< 1.5 m distance) with a person infected with COVID-19 for longer than 10 minutes and have not had adequate protection (adequate protection = case and contact person wear MNS [mouth/nose protection] or a FFP2 mask continuously and correctly)
    • who have had a conversation with a person infected with COVID-19 (<1.5 m distance, "face-to-face contact", irrespective of the duration of the conversation) and there was no adequate protection (adequate protection = case and contact person wear MNS [mouth/nose protection] or a FFP2 mask continuously and correctly)
    • Persons who have had direct contact with secretions or body fluids of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
    • Close contact may also be present in persons who were most likely exposed to a high concentration of infectious aerosol in the room (e.g. partying, singing together or doing sports indoors without adequate ventilation).
  • Such close contacts must follow the instructions on this site.

Last updated: 15 July 2021: HHU’s hygiene concept/protective measures.

COVID-19

Coronavirus / SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19

[Last updated: 15 July 2021]

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes the disease COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019). On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization WHO declared the worldwide spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute has assessed the risk level for Germany as high overall (as of 26 March 2020).  

Since the beginning of the circulation of SARS-CoV-2, the viruses have acquired an increasing number of polymorphic nucleotide positions, which lead to amino acid exchanges. Based on these, the viruses are subdivided into variants (also: clades or lineages). These changes in the pathogen genome can be associated with changes in the pathogen properties, e.g. with higher transmissibility, an altered immune response or a more severe course of the disease. Vaccination against COVID-19 has been available in Germany since 26 December 2020. So far, four vaccines are available (as of 12 July 2021).

The management of Heinrich Heine University (HHU) has set up a task force which meets regularly for consultation. In addition, the University’s management is in constant contact with the faculties, the central facilities, the university management, the Düsseldorf University Hospital (UKD) management as well as the responsible authorities and continuously assesses the situation following the recommendations made by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the local Düsseldorf health authorities and the State and Federal Ministries of Health.   

How do you recognise the disease?

[Last updated: 15 July 2021]

As with other respiratory pathogens, an infection with the novel coronavirus can lead to respiratory infections. The symptoms most frequently recorded in the German reporting system include a cough, fever, head cold/sniffles, as well as a loss of smell and taste.

  • The course of the disease varies greatly in terms of symptoms and severity. Asymptomatic infections through to severe pneumonia with lung failure and death can occur. Neurological, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular symptoms as well as kidney failure, dermatological manifestations and hyperinflammatory syndromes and long-term consequences have been described.

In some patients, the virus appears to be associated with a more severe course, leading to respiratory problems and pneumonia. Deaths mainly occur in patients who were older and/or previously suffered from chronic underlying diseases. Altogether 2.4% of all persons for whom confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections were transmitted in Germany died in connection with a COVID-19 illness. For further information about this, refer to the RKI website on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.

How can we protect ourselves?

[Last updated: 15 July 2021]

Vaccination

Vaccination against COVID-19 has been available in Germany since 26 December 2020. So far, four vaccines are available (as of 12 July 2021). Approvals for further vaccines have been or are being applied for at the European Medicines Agency.

Prophylaxis

Currently, a medicinal prophylaxis to prevent infection with the novel coronavirus does not exist.

However, it is always necessary to observe the standard hygiene measures to be used for respiratory diseases that are transmitted by droplets/aerosols.

The most important measures in the general public include reducing contacts, following the AHA+L rules (keep your distance, observe hygiene, wear masks and air out/ventilate in everyday life) and staying at home in case of acute respiratory symptoms. These measures also protect against infection with the worrisome variants. The Corona warning app is also an additional, key component of the pandemic response. Comprehensive information on rules of conduct and recommendations for professional and private protection against COVID-19 is provided by the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA).

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the most effective protection against personal infection as well as infection of other people with the SARS coronavirus-2 includes above all:

  • Wash your hands more frequently: with soap and water (for approx. 20 seconds).
  • Cough and sneeze hygiene: do not cough openly into a room and do not cough into your hand but into the crook of your arm.
  • Maintain a distance of ≥1.5 to 2 metres from other people.
  • Avoid direct contact: do not shake hands with or hug other people.
  • Wear a face mask to catch droplets.
  • Ventilate rooms regularly.
  • Stay informed about the infection and the latest developments.

These measures are also a protection against other respiratory diseases (such as the flu).

What should I do if I feel ill?

[Last updated: 15 July 2021]

If you feel ill yourself and are unsure what is wrong with you, you should first call your family doctor or the on-call doctor (using the telephone number: 116117) and discuss how to proceed. The family doctor is the first point of contact. All general practitioners have been informed by the “Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung” about what to do. It still applies that people with symptoms that indicate a viral disease should not go to see their doctor spontaneously, without prior notification by telephone, in order to avoid the spread of infections.

The state capital of Düsseldorf has set up a ‘corona hotline’ for all Düsseldorf citizens and for everyone working in the city: 0211-8996090 (fax number for the hearing impaired: 0211 89-35674). The specially trained corona hotline team carries out a standardised query developed by the Robert Koch Institute. If it turns out that the callers need to be tested, an appointment can be made at the central diagnostic facility (Witzelstraße 54-56), the drive-in test centre or the mobile smear test service of the city of Düsseldorf. Many private test centres also offer PCR tests and free rapid tests.

What should I do if I had contact with an infected person or a person who is suspected to have contracted COVID-19?

[Last updated: 06 October 2020]

If you had close contact with a person infected with SARS-COVID-19 while working at HHU or in your personal environment, please observe the information below:

As a supervisor – how do I proceed if one of my employees reports a (suspected) infection with COVID-19?

[Last updated: 6 October 2020]

As a supervisor, how do I proceed if one of my employees reports a (suspected) infection with COVID-19?

Who is most at risk?

The Robert Koch Institute has published a list of people who have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 as well as information as to what these persons can do to avoid contracting the disease.

The group of people with a higher risk includes:

  • Older persons (with a steadily increasing risk of a severe course of the disease from around 50-60 years old; 86% of those who died due to COVID-19 in Germany were 70 years old or older [median age: 82 years])
  • Male gender
  • Smokers (weak evidence)
  • Obese (BMI>30) and severely obese (BMI>35) persons
  • Persons with Down's syndrome (trisomy 21)
  • Persons with certain pre-existing conditions, without ranking:
    • of the cardiovascular system (coronary heart disease and high blood pressure)
    • chronic lung diseases (e.g. COPD)
    • Chronic kidney and liver diseases
    • Psychiatric diseases (e.g. dementia)
    • Patients with diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
    • Patients with cancer
    • Patients with a weakened immune system (e.g. due to a disease associated with immunodeficiency or due to the regular intake of medicines that can influence and lower the immune defence, such as cortisone).

To RKI’s corresponding pages

Important telephone numbers and addresses

[Last updated: 15 July 2021]

A new corona hotline of the city of Düsseldorf has been set up - for all Düsseldorf citizens and for everyone working in the city: 0211-8996090 (fax number for the hearing impaired: 0211 89-35674). The specially trained corona hotline team carries out a standardised query developed by the Robert Koch Institute. If it turns out that a caller needs to be tested for the virus, an appointment can be made at the central diagnostic facility (Witzelstraße 54-56), the drive-in test centre or the mobile smear test service of the city of Düsseldorf. Many doctors' surgeries and private testing centres also offer PCR testing options and free rapid tests.

The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia has introduced a new coronavirus service hotline for its citizens: 0211-91191001.

Hygiene policy/hygiene measures at HHU

[Updated on: 5 July 2021]

On these pages you can download a briefing describing safety measures to be taken against the coronavirus as well as several leaflets addressing various topics.  

To the downloads:

  • Briefing Safety Measures Coronavirus (SARS-CoV 2) [Download PPTX] [Download PDF] - Last updated: 29 June 2021
  • Hygiene measures for office work [Download PDF] - Last updated: 30 June 2021
  • Briefing Research Work in Laboratories under COVID-19 conditions [Download PDF] - Last updated: 30 June 2021
  • Info Sheet on Hygiene Measures for Seminar and Conference Rooms [Download PDF] - Last updated: 30 June 2021

In case of further questions on hygiene measures, please email .

Posters 'General hygiene measures', 'obligation to wear a face covering' and 'airing of rooms'

[Last updated: 22 October 2020]

We have prepared a poster with important information on how to avoid infection with coronavirus. It has been distributed across campus and can be downloaded as a PDF file [Download PDF]. In addition to that, the following posters are available as pdf files for download "A face covering must be worn inside all buildings" [Download PDF] and "Room ventilation required" [Download PDF].

If you need a printed copy, please contact the Events and Marketing Services Unit.


Still have questions?

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