Procedure for COVID-19 Infections

Fact Sheet for UZH Staff (Status: 23 June 2020)

Procedure for (Suspected) Cases of COVID-19 or after Close Contact with an Infected Person

To enable UZH to fulfill its duty as an employer and look after its employees’ health, employees must immediately inform their line managers1 if they:

  • become infected with coronavirus or
  • develop symptoms2 that point to a COVID-19 infection or
  • have been in close contact with someone infected with coronavirus. Close contact means a distance of < 1.5 meters to someone infected with coronavirus for > 15 minutes without any form of protection.

Are you experiencing symptoms of illness?

  • Employees who experience coronavirus symptoms must stay at home, avoid contact with others and follow the guidelines on hygiene and conduct issued by the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH (isolation2).
  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-192 while you are at UZH, you must self-isolate immediately: Put on a surgical mask and leave UZH premises straight away. (Provided by the university’s medical service via the ServiceCenter 044 635 41 41, if required)
  • Inform your line managers immediately and contact your family doctor or the canton’s medical hotline (0800 33 66 55) in order to discuss the next steps. They will advise you and if necessary ask you to get tested at one of the official testing sites.
  • If your test comes back positive, you must continue to self-isolate: The relevant cantonal authorities (cantonal medical service) will get in touch with you and provide further information and instructions (contact tracing, see below).  As a rule, infected persons may only leave their home if they have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.  At least 10 days must have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • If the test is negative, you must also stay at home.  You may come out of isolation 24 hours after the symptoms subside.
  • Persons who do not get tested for coronavirus must adhere to the same rules as for a positive test.
  • If you are unable to work for more than a week, you must also submit a doctor’s note as usual.
    More information about quarantine, self-isolation and contact tracing is available on the website of the FOPH2.

Have you been in close contact with someone who has tested positive?

  • Close contact at work: Leave your workplace and UZH buildings without being asked to do so by your line managers.
  • Close contact in private: Stay at home.

In both cases, you must inform your line managers, discuss the next steps and go into quarantine2 at home for 10 days (starting from the date of the most recent contact with the infected person).  You must follow the instructions of the cantonal medical service and contact your family doctor/GP or the canton’s medical hotline (0800 33 66 55) as soon as you experience any symptoms.

Responsibilities of line managers of employees with symptoms

  • There is no obligation for line managers to report to the Human Resources Office or the Professorships Department.
  • Line managers must ensure that all their employees are familiar with their duty to inform them of (confirmed or suspected) cases of COVID-19.
  • In the event of a COVID-19 infection among the members of their team, line managers must ensure that work continues without interruption; they must inform the others prudently, to the extent necessary, and if possible in consultation with the infected team member. The Safety, Security and Environment Office, the Professorships Department and the Employee Assistance Office (MBS) are available to provide support.

Contact tracing and workplace measures in the event of COVID-19 infection among UZH staff

  • If the test is positive, contact tracing is carried out by the relevant cantonal service (cantonal medical service) with the help of the infected person and involves identifying everyone who needs to go into quarantine.
  • Line managers may not carry out contact tracing themselves (due to personality rights). This is done exclusively by the relevant cantonal service (cantonal medical service).
  • Anyone who has been in close contact with the infected employee will be notified by the relevant cantonal service (cantonal medical service) and instructed to go into quarantine.

Special cleaning measures at the workplace

  • Cleaning and disinfecting of the infected employee’s workplace is only necessary if less than 24 hours have passed since the most recent contact of the infected person with objects or surfaces.  If more than 24 hours have gone by since the most recent contact, no cleaning or disinfecting measures are required3. However, it is at least as important that all employees follow good hand hygiene.
  • Surfaces must be cleaned with commercially available cleaning agents, objects (e.g. keyboard, computer mouse, telephone, tools) disinfected with device cleaning agents or alcohol (70%). Cleaning agents and disinfectants can be procured through the shop of the Procurement and Logistics Office (Irchel Shop):
    Materials Center: Irchel Shop
  • Support and coordination of cleaning services:  UZH corona hotline,
    phone 044 635 49 29

Surgical masks

  • We recommend having a surgical or face mask with you when you are at UZH. Face masks for non-medical use can be used instead of surgical masks.
  • Wear a face mask when using public transportation during peak times.
  • Costs for masks must be paid for by the employee, unless they are required for professional reasons.

References

1 According to the directive "Working from Home and Transition to Normal Operations" (Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) dated 28 April 2020:
Directive on Working from Home and Transition to Normal Operations

2 An up-to-date list of COVID-19 symptoms and more information about quarantine, self-isolation and contact tracing is available on the website of the FOPH:
FOPH: Isolation und quarantine

3 According to the official FOPH safety concept for museums, libraries and archives (in German): BAG: Musterschutzkonzepte