General corona-related information (hygiene/symptoms/sickness/protection/etc.)

Preliminary information on the provision of self-tests and clarification of the difference between PCR tests, rapid antigen tests and self-tests

Based on information issued by the Ministry of Science on the provision of coronavirus self-tests for all universities in Lower Saxony, the Presidential Board is currently working on assessing and coordinating the proper process and the distribution of self-tests at the University of Oldenburg.

Since the use of coronavirus self-tests at the University of Oldenburg is a matter of fundamental importance requiring legal and organizational clarification, individual organizational units should refrain from proceeding independently.

Further information will be made available at short notice.

What is the difference between PCR tests, rapid antigen tests and self-tests?

PCR tests are the "gold standard" among coronavirus tests. Samples are collected by medical personnel - analysis is performed by laboratories.

Rapid antigen tests: get their name because the result is available quickly.  Can only be performed by trained personnel - for this, similar to the PCR test, a nasal or throat swab is taken. However, in contrast to the PCR test, the evaluation takes place directly on site. Since March 8, 2021, every person is entitled to at least one rapid test per week.

Self-tests: get their name because these tests can be done by anyone, e.g. at home. Self-tests are intended for use by private individuals. Therefore, sample collection and evaluation must be simple. The test can be performed with a nasal swab or saliva, for example. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, together with the Paul Ehrlich Institute, checks the quality and validity of the tests.

Rapid and self-tests have a higher error rate compared to PCR tests. Therefore, after each positive rapid and self-test, a PCR test should always be performed for confirmation.

Is there an obligation to report a positive self-test?

No. However, anyone who does a self-test that comes back positive should have it confirmed by a PCR test just as they would with a positive rapid antigen test and, as a precaution, remain in isolation at home until the result is available. The AHA+L rules should still be followed. Positive results of rapid antigen tests performed by trained personnel, on the other hand, must be reported.

Source: Excerpt from Federal Ministry of Health / Coronatest / FAQ rapid tests.

The mask mandate

The Presidential Board has decided to extend the existing general mask mandate by requiring that medical masks (surgical masks, medical face masks) instead of simpler cloth versions covering the mouth and nose be worn in all buildings and rooms of the university, excluding rooms used by a single person. This provision will be in effect from February 1, 2021 until further notice, but at least until March 31, 2021.

Overview of the type of masks that may be worn for protection against the Coronavirus:

Type/feature

Mouth-nose protection (simple cloth mask)

Medical mask

FFP2

Intended use

for private use without a legal standard on filtering properties

for protecting others

for protecting yourself/occupational safety

Labeling

none, because it is an article of clothing

CE label on packaging indicating a medical device

CE label (including a number) on packaging and the product itself, considered personal protective equipment (PPA)

Protective effect

depends on the design, protects against droplets during inhalation, may slow the speed of respiratory flow and reduce droplet ejection

protects against droplets during inhalation, less effective against aerosols

protects against droplets and aersols

Length of permissible daily use

all day (reusable)

all day (disposable)

restricted

Permissible where?

outdoors on university premises

outdoors on university premises

Mandatory:

in all high-traffic areas, inside all buildings and rental facilities of the university

during all in-person lectures, seminars and exams

at all meetings, gatherings and other functions
(e.g. committee and commission meetings)

Not intended for official use

Note on FFP2 masks at the university

Wearing FFP2 masks to protect against a Coronavirus infection is not intended at the university. Officially classified as respirators, FFP2 masks are subject to special regulations with regard to (intended) use and permissible wearing time. They must not be worn for more than 75 minutes without at least a 30-minute break.

Since FFP2 masks thus cannot be worn at all times, the university has decided not to adopt them as protection against infection during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Should another hazard require the use of an FFP2 mask, a risk assessment has to be submitted to and reviewed by the Occupational Safety Unit. Upon approval, an FFP2 mask may be worn in that particular circumstance only.

Exemption from the mask mandate

As a matter of principle, there is currently no exemption from the mask mandate at the University of Oldenburg. If you have any questions, or would like to petition for a stand-alone solution in a specific case, please contact Division 1 (employees) or 3 (students).

Obtaining medical masks at the university

Medical masks can be obtained from the BI laboratory supply depot at the Wechloy campus. Billing is done through a central funds center; there are no costs to the organizational unit. For more information, please refer to "Obtaining medical masks" below.

Obtaining medical masks

Medical masks are provided for members of the University of Oldenburg (i.e. attending employees and students) as warranted and needed.

Students will receive the medical masks at mandatory in-person examinations/lectures/seminars from the person in charge.

Costs: Billing takes place via a central funds center. The organizational unit does not incur any costs.

Dispatch: Dispatch by internal mail is possible, but may take longer. In this case, please send the completed and signed issue form, including your office/room number, to:

Pick-up: Pick-up at the BI laboratory supply depot at the Wechloy campus:

Room W3 0-135 (Level 0, ground floor)
Business hours/collection hours
Mon - Fri: 9.30 a.m. - 12.00 p.m., Mon - Thu: 2.00 p.m. - 3.00 p.m.
The depot is closed in the afternoon prior to a public holiday

Download the mask issue form (German only)

Who is considered a contact person with a higher risk of infection?

Anyone who has had contact with a sick person at least two days before that person began experiencing symptoms is considered a contact person. Contact persons have a higher risk of falling ill themselves if

  • they came in direct contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes, e.g. during a conversation.
  • they came in direct contact with an infected person's secretions or bodily fluids, e.g. during kissing or coughing.
  • they work in the medical field or nursing and, without wearing protective gear, came within less than 2 meters of an infected person, e.g. during an exam.
  • they traveled on an air plane with an infected person, but only if 1) they sat in the same row or up to 2 rows in front of or behind the infected person (regardless of the flight's duration) or 2) they were among the crew or other passengers, e.g. after a longer conversation.

I feel sick and I am showing symptoms of a corona infection - what should I do?

Do not come to the university, but please contact your general practitioner by telephone for further diagnosis. Outside of regular consultation hours, you can contact the on-call medical service of the City of Oldenburg:
Phone: 116 117 (nationwide)

As with any spontaneous absence, the following applies:

  • Employees: please inform your superior by telephone or e-mail.
  • Students: please inform the InfoService of Division 3 (Dezernat 3) by telephone or e-mail (studium@uol.de or 0441/798-2728).

If you have tested positive for the coronavirus or you suspect to have been exposed, please notify the university using this contact form: https://uol.de/en/formular-coronavirus_intranet.

Who issues quarantine orders?

In accordance with the Infection Protection Act ("Infektionsschutzgesetz"), state health authorities with local jurisdiction (e.g. the local health department) may order and organize quarantine measures.

How can I protect myself from infection?

  •     Ensure a distance of at least 1.5 meters.
  •     Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap.
  •     Wear a cloth face mask (MNS).
  •     Ventilate sufficiently and regularly

The university has also published a poster on this topic, which you can find here.

Can imported goods, objects, packaging (cardboard boxes, envelopes) from regions where the disease is widespread be a source of human infection?

Based on the transmission pathways identified so far and the relatively low environmental stability of coronaviruses, it is unlikely, according to the current scientific consensus, that imported goods such as food, consumer goods, toys, tools, computers, clothing, or shoes could be a source of infection with the novel coronavirus. (BfR)

How should people proceed if they are at a higher risk of the disease progressing severely (e.g. in case of a preexisting condition, a suppressed immune system, ...)?

It is particularly important to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible, for example by following the general guidelines (washing hands, keeping distance from sick people) and other measures to reduce contact.
Educating vulnerable individuals about the disease's clinical characteristics is also important, as it can help them recognize symptoms early. Infected persons should contact their family practitioner or other medical counselling services by telephone as soon as possible.

The RKI has published information specifically for higher-risk groups (German). 

Contact points for affected persons at the university:
Employees: Employees should inform their respective superiors or contact the Division 1 - Personnel/Organization. In accordance with the company doctor, individual solutions for the employees concerned may be found.

Students: Students should contact the Division 3 - Student and Academic Affairs. In accordance with the faculties concerned, individual solutions for the students concerned may be found.

How should persons who have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and contact persons proceed? Is there a central reporting office at the university?

Persons who have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and contact persons please proceed as described below:

  • In case of a positive test result or an official quarantine order, a voluntary report should be made as soon as possible via our online contact form or by subsequently calling our corona reporting office at 0441/798-5000.
  • Persons who have not officially been ordered to quarantine help interrupt possible infection chains by staying home out of an abundance of caution.

The procedure described here represents a preventive protective measure of the University of Oldenburg and does not replace orders issued by the public health authority (“Gesundheitsamt”).

(04/08/2021)