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Test offer

TU Dortmund University wants to protect its members from infection and help contain the pandemic. To this end, series tests are to be offered to those TU members who need to be present on campus. In this way, undetected infectious cases are to be found and chains of infection interrupted as early as possible. The offer started in April for employees and students of TU Dortmund University to ensure the necessary face-to-face teaching in the summer semester 2021.

Normal operation requires a very low incidence, testing alone is not sufficient for this. Coronatests ­allow positive cases to ­be­ quickly detected and isolated. ­As a result, ­chains of infection are interrupted at an early stage. At the same time, however, a negative test result is not a "free pass", as it is only a snapshot. In addition, infections can be overlooked if the viral load is low. Compliance with spacing and hygiene rules is therefore still essential  as long as incidence dictates.

Initially employees and also students who must be present on campus for studying and teaching as well as for research and administration, were testes. With the introduction of a statewide testing requirement for teaching on June 7, students must provide proof of a negative result through a citizen test at their place of residence as long as incidence level 1 does not apply in the city and state. For employees, the testing requirement continues unchanged.

TU Dortmund University uses PCR tests and self-tests in combination to make the best use of the advantages of both types of tests. Self-tests have the advantage that they provide the result quickly and can be used anywhere. However, they are not 100% accurate, especially shortly after the infection. PCR tests, on the other hand, offer the best possible reliability, but provide the result with a delay because the analysis takes place in the laboratory. Both variants rely on simple self-collection of the sample, which is painless. The costs are comparable, as TU Dortmund University has the samples analyzed "pooled" for the more expensive PCR tests, i.e. ten samples together. Details on the two types of tests can be found in the following sections of this FAQ. The following link provides a chart that illustrates the advantages of combining both testing methods.

In order to detect an infection as early as possible, a employees should take a self-test at home in advance for every day of presence on campus if possible. Everyone who comes to campus regularly rather than sporadically must participate in a PCR pool test once or twice a week  in order to verify the validity of the ne­ga­ti­ve self-tests. An overview with explanations and examples of test frequency can be found here.

Employees can order the self-tests for their areas via a form in the ServicePortal. PCR testing is done at testing sites on campus; since mid-June an appointment is no longer required for this.

Since 9 July, employees in North Rhine-Westphalia are required to submit negative test certificates to their employer if they have not worked on the premises of the workplace for at least five consecutive working days, for example due to vacation. Employees of TU Dortmund University can provide this proof either by taking a free citizenship test or by taking a PCR pool test in the test tents on campus. Please note that the result of the PCR tests will only be available on the following day. As usual, take a self-test at home in advance. "Supervised employee tests" on the first working day on site are not performed at TU Dortmund University.
The negative test certificate must be presented to the respective direct superior on the first day of work on campus. Supervisors have a look at the test evidence and then return it. The evidence does not have to be retained or documented. Any documentation previously prepared in this context will be destroyed. This regulation also applies to people who initially started in the home office after vacation.

Alternatively, those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered and have no symptoms may present appropriate proof. The regulation does not apply if employees were not on site due to working from home or business trips.

Fact sheet from the ministry (in German)

Prof. Matthias Schneider from the Faculty of Physics at TU Dortmund University is part of No-Covid, a group of 14 scientists who have developed a strategy to contain Covid-19, following the example of Australia. It recommends controlling the incidence of infection through an intelligent testing strategy that involves employers and educational institutions in particular. A traffic-light system would be used to guide protective measures and relaxations in a region, depending on incidence. If a zone is "green," more freedom is possible again. Prof. Schneider is supporting TU Dortmund University in developing its testing strategy and accompanies the tests scientifically.

Self-tests

Self-tests are antigen tests that do not have to be performed by trained personnel but are approved for use by laypersons. Antigen tests detect specific components of the virus. They are also called rapid tests or point-of-care (PoC) tests because they provide the result on the spot within 15 to 20 minutes without the need to involve a laboratory. The first self-tests were approved in Germany in early March. At low viral loads, an antigen test can miss an infection.

Ideally, employees and students carry out the self-tests at home in advance of a campus day, so mobility can be avoided in the event of infection. Instructions can be found here.

Due to the statewide testing requirement, students must now take a citizen test at their place of residence. The previous practice of bringing a photo of a self-test taken at home does not meet the new legal requirements. For this reason, TU Dortmund University will no longer hold self-tests for students from mid-June.

If the self-tests are conducted at home, infected individuals will be prevented from traveling to campus and having contact with other individuals.

To ensure that self-tests are as sensitive as possible and miss as few infected individuals as possible, product development accepts that in rare cases they will give a false positive result. If self-tests are used on a very large scale, then this occurs on a significant scale: For example, if the reliability is 99.5%, there will be an average of five false positive results per 1,000 tests. A PCR test can be used to check whether the result was true positive (infected) or false positive (non-infected). Anyone who obtains a positive result in a self-test is obliged to undergo a PCR test immediately at a test center or at the family doctor's office for control.

Self-tests have the advantage that you can do them at home and get the result immediately. This means that positive cases can be detected before you come in contact with others. However, they are less sensitive than PCR tests. For example, if the viral load is low, they may miss an infection, especially in the pre-symptomatic phase. Because PCR tests are much more sensitive, their predictive power is higher. They are also more likely to detect new mutants. Therefore, anyone who is regularly present on campus should take a PCR test at least once a week after a negative self-test. This procedure also enables TU Dortmund University to check how reliable the self-tests are. The following link provides a chart that illustrates the advantages of combining both testing methods.

Employees of the TU Dortmund receive self-tests from Siemens, which are provided by the state of NRW.

PCR tests

In a PCR test, the genetic material of the virus is amplified and detected. Due to its high reliability, the methodology is considered the "gold standard". However, it is time-consuming, as the analysis has to be carried out in the laboratory. For this purpose, TU Dortmund University is cooperating with the Klinikum Dortmund as part of a research project. Only the samples are taken on TU Dortmund University campus. The result is available within 24 hours. In order to exclude infection on the day of the test as far as possible, a self-test should be carried out beforehand. The following link provides a chart that illustrates the advantages of combining both testing methods.

There are two testing sites on campus: a tent in Martin-Schmeißer-Platz at the North Campus and a testing site in the sports facilities.  The tent at the South Campus has been closed since 13 August. 

In the testing sites, there are one or two test lanes each. In each test lane, ten people can take their samples in booths at the same time. The faculties can book the test lanes for their members via LSF and invite their members. The test sites at the Nord Campus and South Campus operate Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon, the testing site in the sports facilities on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30 a.m. to 2.15 p.m.

The test centers are open to employees of the TU Dortmund University. Within the scope of free capacities, registered students can also be tested. Since mid-June, it is no longer necessary to book an appointment via LSF. To avoid waiting times, please also use the off-peak hours.

For the new digital test check-in, the TU app should be installed on the smartphone before visiting the test tent (see next question). n the TU app, there is a new tile called "Test check-in". There, all data required for the PCR test can be stored in a form (see next question). Half an hour before the test, you should neither eat nor smoke, so that the result is not affected.

Via the "test check-in" function, you can enter all the necessary data (e.g. name, address and telephone number) for the PCR test and confirm the declaration of consent. Please enter your data before entering the test tent. The app then generates a QR code that is scanned in the test tent. You will then receive the test tubes and an information sheet with your QR code. You can scan the code on the information sheet later to get your test result. Further information and the download link to the TU app can be found here.

In exceptional cases, the data and a declaration of consent can still be submitted on paper.

Hands must be disinfected at the entrance to the testing site. The QR code with the personal data from the TU app is then scanned. The person to be tested then receives the material for taking the sample: two numbered tubes with cotton swabs (and a declaration of consent if required) as well as an information sheet with the personal QR code. You can use this to look up the result later. The person then goes to the test booth, which has the same number as the sample tubes. There you can remove the mask. This should not be placed in the booth, but hung around the wrist, for example. After taking the A and B samples (see next question), the test tubes are placed in the containers provided at the dispensing station.

In the "lollipop method", you take a sample from your mouth and nose for the PCR test. To ensure that the result is not falsified, you should not drink, eat or smoke for half an hour beforehand. To take the sample, insert a cotton swab into your mouth and suck on it for 30 seconds, similar to sucking ­on a lollipop. Then insert the cotton swab one after the other into the right and left nostril and swipe along the nasal wall about ten times. Unlike the deep throat swab, the swab is only used in the front part of the nose. The swab is then returned to the tube. This procedure is then ­repeated for a B sample with ­a second cotton swab. The A samples are later placed ten at a time in a collection vessel. 

This  gives an impression of how easy it is to take samples.

With serial tests, it is to be expected that the majority of the samples will be negative. To save time and costs, it therefore makes sense to combine ("pool") several samples and analyze them together. If the pooled sample is negative, one knows that all of the group are negative. If the sample is positive, the B samples of the group members are analyzed individually to find the infectious case. For the procedure at TU Dortmund University, ten samples are pooled in each case. With an incidence of 100, it is statistically expected that out of 100 pooled samples only one B sample needs to be analyzed. The B samples that are not needed are disposed of.

Klinikum Dortmund has validated the method as part of a research project. The simple and efficient procedure of taking samples by lollipop method and analyzing them in pooled form is sufficiently sensitive.

After using the test check-in via the TU app, you will be handed an info sheet with a QR code. By scanning the code, you will receive your test result. If you do not use the test check-in, you will receive the result by email. In case of a positive individual sample, you will be contacted by the health department. It is currently not yet possible to issue a certificate.

Citizen tests

The citizen test is a free rapid test (antigen test) performed by trained personnel in test centers. The result is usually obtained after 15 minutes. Every citizen can be tested several times a week.

There are now numerous test centers where you can get tested.

An overview of all test centers in NRW can be found here:
www.land.nrw/corona

An overview of the test centers in Dortmund can be found here: https://rathaus.dortmund.de/statData/shiny/Teststellen.html

The testing requirement is differentiated according to local incidence values. As long as the city and federal state are not both in incidence level 1, the test obligation for teaching is controlled on site by the gatekeepers respectively security personnel. Those who wish to attend a classroom event must then provide proof of a negative result from a citizen test at their place of residence that is no more than 48 hours old.

The crisis team at TU Dortmund University decided not to offer supervised self-tests as an alternative because infected people would then only be identified after numerous contacts on the road and on campus. Self-tests taken at home without supervision are not considered evidence under state law. Therefore, TU Dortmund University does not issue home self-tests to students.

The state's Corona Protection Ordinance does not require students to participate in on-campus PCR pool testing. However, within the limits of free capacities, students may also voluntarily participate in the scientifically supervised PCR pool tests on campus.

No. Immunized individuals do not need a test, but they must either prove complete vaccination or demonstrate recovery following a positive PCR test in the past six months.

The testing strategy for employees remains unchanged, as the new state regulations do not apply to them. A self-test must be taken at home before each day of attendance, as well as the PCR pool test once or twice a week. Further information on this can be found under "Test offer".

Positive test results

A positive result in the self-test means that you are most likely infected and presumably have also been contagious for a few days. Please keep calm: In Germany, many other people are affected like you every day - you are not alone. The result must be checked immediately by a PCR control test. You can take a PCR control test directly at some testing centers or at your family doctor. Go into quarantine until the result of the PCR test is available and also inform your close contacts as a precaution. You are not allowed to enter the campus of TU Dortmund University. If the result of the PCR test is negative - i.e. if the self-test was false positive and you are not infected after all - then the restrictions will no longer apply and you can give your contacts the all-clear. If the PCR test is positive, quarantine automatically becomes mandatory.

In order to perform the PCR tests as efficiently as possible, samples from up to ten individuals are collected ("pooled") at TU Dortmund University and analyzed together. If a pooled sample is positive, it is known that at least one sample was positive, but not which one. For this reason, subsequently the respective samples B are reanalyzed individually. Only then is it certain who is positive and who is negative. In order to prevent an infected person from being on the campus, it is necessary that until the individual results are available, all persons who were involved in the positive collective sample temporarily stay at home and limit their contacts as much as possible. It is also advisable to prepare a list of close contacts as a precautionary measure. As a rule, the individual result of the sample B will be available on the following day at the latest. Then, the persons who have a negative result can suspend the precautionary measures again.

A PCR test is very reliable. Consequently, a positive result in the individual test means that one is actually infected with the coronavirus. Therefore, you have to go into quarantine for usually 14 days, i.e. you are not allowed to leave your home or private property and you are not allowed to receive visitors, so that you do not infect anyone. In order to break the chain of infection, you must inform the people with whom you last had close contact; for this the period of up to four or five days before the test is relevant. Also consider on which occasion in the past 14 days you could have become infected yourself. Meetings with family or friends without a mask are particularly relevant here, as this could have resulted in a larger outbreak. Symptoms develop very differently with Covid-19. Most often they remain mild, especially in young people. If necessary, one should consult one's family doctor respectively general practitioner.

Quarantine means that you have to isolate yourself from other people and stay at home. If you test positive for PCR, this applies automatically and to household members as well, unless they are fully immunized and asymptomatic. The health authorities department does not have to specifically order this first. Please ask friends or neighbors if they can do the shopping for you and find out about delivery services in your area.

TU Dortmund University supports and advises its members in case of quarantine. The Psychological Student Advisory Service offers daily telephone counseling for students. Contact them during office hours at 0231 755 5050 (Mon-Thu 1 p.m. - 1.30 p.m., Wed-Fri 8.30 a.m. – 9 a.m.) or make an appointment via mail. For employees, the Social Contact Persons (Soziale Ansprechpartner, APa) can be reached via mail: Ms. Rüger, Dr. Herrmann or Mr. Schaarwächter will get back to you as soon as possible, no later than the next business day.

If you are new at your place of residence and do not have any support for errands in your environment in case of quarantine, you can also find people at TU Dortmund University who can help you: Students can contact the student representative bodies (Fachschaften), employees the Covid-19 Response Officer. The International Office also offers help for international students.

Please do not hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Household members of an infected person are among the close contacts. Unless they are fully immunized and asymptomatic, they must also immediately go into quarantine without being ordered to do so by the public health department. They should have a PCR test done as soon as possible. Has there not yet been an infection, they should try to avoid being in the same room as the infected person in their home if possible. They should inform their own close contacts so that they, in turn, can reduce their contacts, test themselves respectively get tested and observe the developments.

Inform those persons with whom you were last in close contact. Relevant is the period of up to four or five days before the test was carried out.

People with whom you have had face-to-face conversations without a mask and without distance are considered to be close contacts. Other people with whom you have had contact for more than ten minutes without a mask and without a minimum distance are also considered to be close contacts. If you have been together with other people in a room with a high aerosol concentration, they are also considered close contacts, regardless of distance or mask. This applies, for example, to sports in inadequately ventilated halls. You can read more details about this definition on the RKI website (german only).

All close contacts, who are not fully immunized and asymptomatic, must be quarantined as soon as possible, so that you should not wait for the order of the public health department. They should immediately perform a PCR test. They are also urged to inform in turn all persons with whom they have had contact in the past four to five days, so that they can reduce their contacts, test themselves/get tested and observe themselves.

Due to the distance and hygiene measures, there will usually be no contact during teaching that is considered close in the sense of the RKI definition. Exceptions could exist if, for example, aerosols are emitted to a greater extent in sports or music, so that inadequate ventilation could lead to the assumption of a high virus concentration in the room air. Also, if exercises were to be done in tandem, close contact could occur. To assess the situation, consider what the surrounding conditions were in the specific situation. Contact your instructor to discuss the situations. Digital check-in and check-out via QR codes will help to identify your seatmates. Depending on the assessment of the situation, individual participants or the entire course can be quarantined.

If a person who has recently been on campus is infected with Corona, the Covid-19 Response Officer of TU Dortmund University, Bernd Lilienthal, must be informed.

Further information on this can be found in the FAQ in the ServicePortal.

The Covid-19 response officers of the faculties and institutions can help with contact tracing. If you are unsure, the colleagues from Occupational Health Management, Lavinia Simon and Franziska Wallmeier, are happy to help and advise both those affected and the pandemic officers. Contact them via mail. They are also authorized to view the digital data for traceability in courses and to pass it on to the public health department if necessary.

TU Dortmund University wants to use proactive contact tracing to help break chains of infection as quickly as possible. It is important that measures are initiated immediately, even before the sometimes overburdened public health departments contact those affected. Specifically for this purpose, the Dortmund Health Department has published a guide for contact persons (german only).

The course of the disease varies widely; in most cases, infected individuals develop only mild symptoms similar to those of a severe cold. The most commonly mentioned are cough, sore throat or fever, and a loss of sense of smell and taste may also occur temporarily. Observe yourself. If you feel unwell, contact your family doctor/general practitioner or local public health department. In rare emergencies such as respiratory distress, dial 112.

A period of fourteen days is estimated for recovery. The number of recovered people in Germany is now in the millions.

 

Rules of conduct

According to current legislation, a positive PCR test obligates both the person affected and the members in the same household to quarantine, i.e. one may no longer leave one's home or private property and may not receive visitors. The infected person is also required to notify all persons with whom there has been close personal contact in the four days prior to or since the test was performed. If the result is positive, the public health department will be notified and contact follow-up will be initiated. A positive antigen test must be verified by a PCR test.

Here you can find more information on .

The university only tests without suspicion, i.e. it only tests symptomless persons. Anyone who has symptoms such as cough, fever, cold, and loss of smell or taste should not visit the campus, but should contact their family doctor.

The known distance and hygiene rules must continue to be observed in university operations - even a negative test result does not exempt from this. For one thing, a test result is always only a snapshot and does not allow a prognosis. Furthermore, tests can miss an infection if the viral load is low. 

TU Dortmund University has already successfully introduced a self-developed digital system to ensure "special traceability" for the winter semester 2020/21. For this purpose, TU members scan the specific QR code at their seat so that they can check in and out of rooms in a place-specific manner. If the public health department contacts the university in the course of contact tracing of a positive case, TU Dortmund University does not hand over a "paper trail", but can read out and pass on seating plans digitally. Further details on this can be found in the Corona FAQ under "".

Statistics

TU Dortmund University is interested in transparent communication about the incidence of infections on campus. TU Dortmund University reports weekly how many PCR pool tests were performed and how many of them were positive. Also additional positive cases on campus identified elsewhere, such as through a positive self-test or contact follow-up, are reported weekly. Until the implementation of mandatory statewide testing for students, the number of self-tests that students performed at home was also reported. Since June 7, this is no longer sufficient evidence, so the number is no longer reported.

An incidence is not calculated because it is not very meaningful for small cohorts. TU Dortmund University uses anonymized case numbers for the statistics.

If 10,000 individuals are tested regularly, one might expect about 3 to 10 cases per week based on a regional incidence of 30 to 100. However, because the individuals on campus are a small- to medium-sized cohort, case numbers are expected to fluctuate, sometimes below and sometimes above the regional average. They could be systematically above because of two factors: First, the incidence in the student age group (20 to 29 years) in the first year of the pandemic was always higher than in the general population, by an average of 50 percent. On the other hand, serial testing also captures the number of unreported cases that remain undetected when testing is otherwise carried out on an ad hoc basis.

Since June, there has been no reporting, as students have since been required to prove a negative test result through a citizen test.

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