Technische Universität Berlin

Infection Chain Case Management at TU Berlin

Transparent reporting procedures in the event of a positive coronavirus test

According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, employees are obliged to inform their employer in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 infection so that the latter can implement measures within the scope of their duty of care to protect its members. This obligation also applies for all students. In consultation with several departments at the University, such as data privacy, the TU Berlin Crisis Committee has established the following procedures for infection chain case management. The aim is to ensure transparent reporting procedures in the event of a positive coronavirus test where the person concerned had been in contact with TU staff and students shortly prior to the test. Several scenarios are described below to help you act quickly and appropriately.

Central address for reporting infections

Please remember: Only medically diagnosed COVID-19 infections need to be reported. The central address for reporting such infections is: coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de. Using this address to report cases safeguards data privacy.

What to do if a coronavirus test is positive

In the event that someone at TU Berlin is infected with COVID-19 (positive test), the following information chain must be adhered to.

What must employees, supervisors and teaching staff, library managers, etc. do?

I myself tested positive.

Please contact your supervisor immediately. If your doctor has certified that you are unfit for work, please contact your HR officer. A sick note from a doctor confirming your incapacity to work is to be presented at the latest on the working day following the third day of illness. Should it not be possible to present the original sick note by this deadline, you can also scan it and send it to the HR officer responsible as an attachment in an email, as a photo from your cell phone or by fax as temporary proof of your incapacity to work until the original arrives.

I was contacted in my capacity as supervisor because one of my staff tested positive.

Supervisors inform the relevant members of their units: If a member of your team tests positive for COVID-19,

  • please send the contact details (name, email address and telephone number) of all persons who had direct contact with this person without delay to the public health authority for the district where the infected person resides (you can search for health authorities by zip code on the website of the Robert Koch Institute
  • report the positive test to coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de
  • inform other members of your team who had direct contact to the person testing positive for COVID-19 for a period of at least 20 minutes or who had any contact without a community mask (mouth-nose protection) or who spent any time at all with them in an enclosed space. As a precaution, please arrange for all these persons to work from home for a period of five days. This is to protect the wellbeing of everyone.

We suggest the following as a model for communicating with your staff:

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to inform you that a person working in our unit XYZ has unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19. According to the staff deployment plan, you had direct contact to this person. A list of all persons who had such contact has already been forwarded to the public health authority. Please also note: Risk assessments and decisions concerning the requirement to self-isolate are the sole responsibility of the health authority. The health authority will contact you if they decide that you have been exposed to an increased risk.

However, I urge you to take responsibility yourself by restricting social contact over the next few days. I would also ask you to work from home over the next five calendar days (or as many of these days are workdays).

If you exhibit symptoms, please contact the emergency doctor by telephone at 116117.

We wish you all the best. Stay healthy!

Sincerely,
[First name last name]

I was contacted in my capacity as lecturer because a student tested positive.

Lecturers inform students: If you become aware that one of the students attending your face-to-face classes tests positive for COVID-19,

  • please report this to coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de; we will then coordinate with you to send attendance lists (including name, postal or email address, telephone number and when possible seat number) to the health authority
  • please also inform the other persons attending the class without delay.

We suggest the following as a model for doing so:

Dear Students,

I would like to inform you that a person attending [class XY]  on day Z has unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19. The attendance list for this class has already been forwarded to the public health authority. Please also note: Risk assessments and decisions concerning the requirement to self-isolate are the sole responsibility of the health authority. The health authority will contact you if they decide that you have been exposed to an increased risk.

However, we urge you to take responsibility yourself by restricting social contact over the next few days. If you exhibit symptoms, please contact the emergency doctor by telephone at 116117.

We wish you all the best. Stay healthy!

Sincerely,
[First name last name]

What must students do?

Please contact coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de immediately.

Where exactly were you at TU Berlin?

  • In a course: please inform the lecturer for that course immediately.
  • In an exam on site: please inform the lecturer/examiner for that examination immediately.
  • In the library: please inform the library immediately.
  • In a catering facility: please inform the operator of the respective catering facility immediately.
  • At one of the advisory services or similar on site: please immediately inform the advisory center where you were.
  • In another place at TU Berlin: please contact coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de immediately.

What applies for caterers on the TU Berlin campus?

Cafeterias and cafés run by Studierendenwerk

The Studierendenwerk has its own procedures for handling infections. Please consult them.

Private operators in TU Berlin buildings

Private operators bear individual responsibility for collecting their guests’ contact details in accordance with the Infection Protection Ordinance of the Federal State of Berlin as last amended and contacting the public health department themselves in the event of an infection.

Student cafés

Those student cafés on campus that are open are themselves responsible for collecting contact details in accordance with the Infection Protection Ordinance of the Federal State of Berlin as last amended. If you become aware of an infection, please contact coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de immediately. We will then consult with you so that the lists of participants are sent to the public health department responsible.

Communication with the public health department

Please note that this involves the processing of personal data for the purpose of health protection and that these data are therefore particularly worth protecting. When transmitting lists of names, these should be sent where possible as a password-protected file via email. Please ensure that the password is sent separately and that the recipient’s email address is verified. Please read the blog of TU Berlin's data privacy team (only in German).

Communication within TU Berlin

Please use the email address coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de exclusively to report confirmed infections (positive COVID-19 test).

It is important that infections are reported to coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de because only then can the TU Berlin Crisis Committee identify any connections between cases and a possible increase in the number of infections. We are also requested to notify the Federal State of Berlin at regular intervals of the number of cases that have occurred at TU Berlin so that it can decide on further measures for the universities, if necessary. These reports do not contain any personal data.

The central email address coronafall(at)tu-berlin.de has a certificate for end-to-end encryption and can receive encrypted emails.

The Crisis Committee can be contacted at krisenstab(at)tu-berlin.de and is the contact point for issues requiring decisions relating to the development of the pandemic (e.g. approval of hygiene concepts or of exceptional cases). 

What alternative courses of action are there for suspected COVID-19 cases?

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the most commonly reported symptoms or signs are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell

According to these guidelines you might have COVID-19 if: You are suffering from the symptoms listed above and you were in contact during the previous two weeks with an infected person who has been diagnosed by a laboratory as having COVID-19 or the national government’s Corona Warning App shows the status “increased risk” for you.

Measures for employees of TU Berlin

In the event of noticeable symptoms or a warning from the Corona Warning App, the employee concerned is urgently requested to report to their supervisor. The supervisor will ask the employee to leave their workplace on the campus and contact a doctor.

In the event that a suspected case is indeed diagnosed by a doctor as a COVID-19 infection, the employee must immediately inform their place of employment – see Infection Chain Case Management.

Measures in the classroom

In the event of noticeable symptoms, the lecturer will ask the student to leave the University’s premises immediately and contact a doctor.

If the person’s test result is positive, they must immediately inform the lecturers for those face-to-face courses that they attended in the past 10 days and where there was physical contact with others on the campus. The lecturer then acts according to the procedures for Infection Chain Management.

Corona Warning App

The Corona Warning App provided free of charge by the national government is voluntary for private cell phones. TU Berlin recommends that you make active use of this app. All users of a cell phone issued by TU Berlin for work purposes are asked to install the app on it, if this is technically possible.

TU Berlin Crisis Committee
22 October 2020