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Coronavirus

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© Universität Bielefeld

Current Updates

Calenderweek 28 / 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the easing of additional restrictions in the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia, we have also been able to modify our internal regulations and open things up a bit more. A new Organizational Decree detailing these changes has been published, which can be viewed online at: http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/corona-verfuegung The English version will be available by tomorrow (16.07.2021).

Here is an overview of the most important changes:

  • Due to the introduction of “Incidence Level 0” (average rate of infection of up to 10 cases per 100,000 residents over 7 days) in the regulations of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, additional easing of restrictions for conferences, courses, and events are possible. These re-openings are meant to take immediate effect – not starting on the 1st of September, as originally planned. Bielefeld is currently at an incidence level of 0.
  • Another important change from the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance is the requirement to take a Coronavirus test when returning to your university workplace after an absence of 5 days. As per this regulation, any absence from your workplace of 5 days or more (not due to Home Office or being out ill) requires you to undergo a rapid test before returning to work. This state-level regulation also includes cases in which employees, for example, took week of vacation but did not travel.

This testing requirement applies to all university employees (i.e. staff members in technical services and administration, academic staff, support staff, and civil servants, including professors), as defined in the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance. The test result must be submitted to your supervisor. More details on this procedure can be found in the Organizational Decree.

Responsible managers are your direct supervisors: for lecturers, this means the university instructors to whom you are assigned. For university instructors, the deans of study will assume this function. In cases for which there is no clear direct supervisor, test results can be submitted to the responsible office in the Department of Human Resources and Organization.

We hope you continue to have a relaxing vacation and holiday break.

Best regards,

Dr. Stephan Becker

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer

Calendar week 27 / 2021

Dear Students,

The time has finally come: vaccinations are now available to students at the city of Bielefeld’s vaccination centre.

Starting today, approximately 400 vaccination appointments will be made available each day to the students of Bielefeld’s institutions of higher learning. Vaccination appointments can be scheduled immediately using the button “Sonderaktionen” [special campaigns] at www.asb-owl.de/impfzentrum. All other additional information is provided when you book the appointment.

We want to encourage you to take this opportunity to get vaccinated. This is an important step towards starting to return to more in-person teaching in the fall. Policymakers and the city of Bielefeld have implemented what Bielefeld University, together with other institutions of higher learning, have been demanding for their students: that students be provided with vaccines this summer.

With widespread vaccination, student life can return to campus on a fuller scale.

As always, stay healthy and well, and enjoy the summer holidays.

 

Best regards,

Dr. Stephan Becker, Chancellor

Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector


Downloads

Organizational decree dated 23 March 2020

Updated version dated 12 July 2021, in force from 15 July 2021

In order to continue its successful response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and to avoid a resurgence in the number of infections, Bielefeld University is operating in the mode of “University Pandemic Operations.” At the same time, however, the provisions of this Organizational Decree are intended to allow for the gradual reopening of increased university operations – subject to applicable legal measures and regulations. 

This Organizational Degree has been updated on the basis of the Infection Control Act of the federal government of Germany, the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia from 24 June 2021 in its currently valid version from 14 July 2021; the General Order governing teaching and examinations at institutions of higher learning in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia from the Ministry of Labour, Health, and Social Affairs dated 14 July 2021; the fourth SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance dated 25 June 2021; the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Protection Regulations from 7 May 2021; the Coronavirus Ordinance on Travel Entry from 12 May 2021 in the consolidated version from 9 June 2021; and the Corona Testing and Quarantine Ordinance of North Rhine-Westphalia dated 8 April 2021 in its currently valid version from 8 July 2021. This Organizational Decree summarizes the current measures in place at Bielefeld University.

All measures continue to pursue the goal of effectively targeting and limiting the risk of infection, thus safeguarding the health of students, instructors, researchers, and technical and administrative staff.

In principle, and independent of the following contingency plan, the following still applies:

  • A minimum of 1.5 meters social distancing must be maintained between all individuals.
  • Exceptions to maintaining social distancing only apply in the following cases:
    • Situations in which it is necessary to carry out work.
    • If suitable protective measures are in place in the work area to fully prevent infections transmitted by droplets (structural separations, partitioning with glass, Plexiglas, or similar); or if there is a at least a requirement to wear a community mask.
    • In outdoor areas of the university, provided that the incidence level is 0 (7-day average rate of infection of 10 and under per 100,000 inhabitants).
    • While wearing a face mask in public areas in university facilities, the main university hall, and in the university library (except for at student workstations) at incidence rate 0.
  • In addition to the requirement to maintain social distancing, wearing a face mask is also required in all university buildings. (Exceptions include wearing a mask in staff offices and other workplaces provided that adequate social distancing is observed or comparable protective measures are in place, and for individuals with a medical certificate exempting them from wearing a mask.)
  • Wearing a high-quality, medical grade mask (surgical mask or an FFP2 mask) is required in work settings in which social distancing of at least 1.5 meters cannot be maintained between individuals, and/or if other protective measures (such as appropriate partitioning with Plexiglass) are not available (see point IV.3). At permitted courses and examinations held in person, wearing a medical-grade mask is required of all those in attendance, even if social distancing is maintained. If Bielefeld is at incidence level 0 or 1 (under 10 or not more than 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively), the face mask can be taken off while seated during permitted courses and exams, provided there is adequate ventilation or air filtering in the room. In addition to this, social distancing must be observed. Exceptions to the mask requirement during practical activities, e.g., in laboratories, during oral exams, or upon presentation of a medical certificate, continue to exist. The medical-grade mask requirement continues to apply for all visitors to the university library (e.g. students/researchers/external visitors).
  • Individuals with respiratory symptoms or fever (unless medically cleared as having another etiology) are, as a rule, not allowed on the university campus.
  • Bielefeld University is offering two free Coronavirus rapid tests per week to all employees. Testing can take place once a week at the campus testing center (located in the cafeteria of Building X). At the campus testing center, staff members can also pick up another rapid test for home use. Staff members includes all individuals employed by the university (salaried employees, civil servants, support staff). Use of Coronavirus rapid tests is voluntary and is not a prerequisite for on-site presence (for exceptions to this, see testing requirements under Point III.6a). The University strongly encourages all employees to take advantage of these testing opportunities. Persons with proven immunity (through full vaccination or recovery) have a very high degree of individual protection against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and/or protection from serious illness. However, individuals with immunity can still become infected and pass it on to others; the general protection measures (social distancing) therefore continue to apply to immunized persons as long as a large number of people in society has not yet had access to vaccines and are thus lying upon the immunity of others for protection. Nevertheless, exceptions to general protective measures are permitted, which are described in the Organizational Decree (e.g. sharing work areas). Fully vaccinated individuals (after completion of the second vaccination) may, in principle, return to working on campus within the framework of the regulations currently governing university operations (for details, see Section III.3 and respective risk category).

Additional information

General information and links

Tips for hygiene

What do we know about the coronavirus and how to avoid transmissions?

Interview with Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg, Professor of Environment and Health and founding dean of the Medical Faculty OWL

Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg
Prof. Dr. med. Claudia Hornberg

Ms Hornberg, what’s so special about the coronavirus and how dangerous is an infection?

Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s and can infect not only humans but also various animals such as birds and mammals. It is assumed that the precursors of the novel coronavirus come from animals in the wild.

The current illnesses are caused by a new type of corona virus, with the official name "SARS-CoV-2". The respiratory disease it causes is called COVID-19.

As with other respiratory pathogens, an infection with the novel coronavirus can lead to symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose, a sore throat, and fever—just like a common cold. In patients with pre-existing conditions, the virus can take a more serious course with, for example, breathing difficulties or pneumonia. Up to now, most of the patients who have died were already suffering from chronic diseases. Currently, the proportion of deaths in which the virus has been confirmed by laboratory tests is about two percent. However, this only includes data on patients who have been treated in hospital.

How is the virus transmitted?

As far as we currently know, the coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. The main transmission route is droplet infection. This can be directly person to person via the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or also indirectly via the hands that are then brought into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose or the lining of the eyes.  Transmission is also possible if only mild or unspecific signs of disease are present. Novel coronaviruses have also been found in stool samples of some infected individuals. However, we do not yet know conclusively whether it can also be transmitted this way.

How can you personally protect yourself against an infection?

In terms of preventive health protection, it is important to adhere to the same hygiene measures that also protect against influenza (flu) infection. These are as follows:  

  • Do not shake hands
  • Regularly carry out good hand hygiene (wash your hands thoroughly with sufficient water and soap several times a day)
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands
  • Observe the coughing and sneezing etiquette (e.g. cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm, use disposable handkerchiefs)
  • if possible, keep at least 1-2 meters away from anybody who is coughing and/or sneezing.

What should people do if they are worried that they have been infected?

First of all, they need a medical examination to determine whether the suspicion of coronavirus is justified. This requires the presence of at least one of the following two constellations:

  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) or unspecific general symptoms AND contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.
  • Acute symptoms (fever, cough, a runny nose, a sore throat, and/or infection-related breathing difficulties) AND having been in a risk area (www.rki.de/covid-19-risikogebiete and www.rki.de/covid-19-fallzahlen) within the last 14 days before the start of the illness.

If you suspect that you might have caught the disease, contact a doctor by telephone. Tell the doctor that you suspect that you have become infected with the new coronavirus (and, if appropriate, where you have travelled home from) and discuss what you should do next by telephone before going to a doctor's practice.

Why is there a quarantine recommendation for people who have been in risk areas or who have had clearly documented contact with sick people?

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) estimates that people who have been in a coronavirus risk area or have had contact with a COVID-19 infected person in the previous 14 days are potentially infected or sick. Persons who have stayed in a risk area designated by the RKI should - even if they have no signs of illness— avoid unnecessary contact with other persons.

The aim of quarantine measures is to interrupt chains of infection and to slow down the spread of the virus as much as possible. This should provide time to find out more about the virus and treatment options, identify risk groups, prepare protective measures, and maintain treatment capacity in the clinics.

Hotline city of Bielefeld

(Supplement dated 09.03.2020)

0521 51-2000: The hotline of the city of Bielefeld can be reached under this number from Friday, 6 March, for all questions concerning the corona virus. From Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., municipal employees* will provide general information and advice on prevention. Outside service hours, the service point of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians) is available at 116117. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Hotline Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel

(Supplement dated 03.03.2020)

Concerned citizens should please follow the nationally established structures and contact their family doctor or the public health department by telephone. A "telephone hotline" has also been set up at Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (EvKB) for justified suspicions: Tel. 0521 772-77777. It is attainable from 8 to 16 o'clock.

Source: Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (in German)


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