Working environment

Coping with the Corona pandemic in companies

With the help of a multi-level safety concept consisting of testing and questioning, the pandemic is to be better managed and contained so that companies can maintain work operations while reducing the health risk for employees.

The protection concept

In times of the pandemic, many companies are faced with the question of how the risk of infection for employees, customers and clients can be limited in the best possible way and how services and products can still be produced and sold economically. It is particularly problematic that at least half of the infections come from people who do not show any signs of illness. Therefore, the goal must be to find and isolate as many infected people as possible in the first days after infection. To do this, it is necessary to specifically test as many asymptomatic people as necessary. 

The protection concept essentially consists of two pillars:

1. a digital, regular survey of all employees::

This makes it possible to classify employees into risk categories A to E, depending on the risk of exposure or relevance for maintaining operations as well as the risk potential for third parties. Based on the result of the individual risk classification, the employees can take concrete rules of conduct from the guideline "Coronavirus: How to behave correctly" (e.g. wear a mask, if necessary saliva and gargle water test).

2. regular testing of system-relevant or particularly exposed employees by means of a PCR gargle test: Depending on the current pandemic situation, these should be tested at regular intervals, if necessary up to daily, using saliva gargle tests and isothermal RT-PCR test procedures (ender MASS). In a further expansion stage, antigen tests will also be used.

Ablauf im Unternehmen

Current project: Gesundes Kinzigtal - CoviSecure

As part of the activities of work package 6 (risk areas) of B-FAST, focusing on the responsibilities of the University Medical Centre Mannheim in this area, Gesundes Kinzigtal GmbH is working with the University Medical Centre Mannheim to develop a protection concept for the early detection of micro-outbreaks at workplaces in the Kinzigtal region (CoviSecure: Strategy instead of Pandemic). 

Protect workers effectively

CoviSecure has been developed as a comprehensive protection concept in the event of a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, within the framework of B-FAST for medium-sized regions and rural structures. It integrates existing structures and local expertise, e.g. from doctors in private practice.

"We appreciate the simple, uncomplicated handling, as the test can be carried out by the user alone, without an appointment at home in the morning, and the transparent transmission of the result with behaviour and risk assessment via internet platform."

Testing and digital survey

Through a digital, regular survey of all employees via an online tool and the regular testing of system-relevant or particularly exposed employees by means of a throat PCR test, employees receive an individual risk assessment based on infection risk, test and symptoms and can derive rules of conduct. The laboratory transmits the test results directly to the platform, where employees can access them in their personal user account. This saves valuable time. Data processing and reporting takes place under the highest security precautions in the proven platform of HealthVision GmbH and servers in Germany.

"The gargle test is super easy to use. Getting a result the same day gives you quick peace of mind; knowing you have negative reassurance. Despite having a home office available, I often have to be present in the office. So I think it's a great offer from my employer to allow a gargle test in certain situations."

Druck

Recognising risks in good time

The concept, which is being implemented in the region by Gesundes Kinzigtal GmbH under the brand name "CoviSecure Strategie statt Pandemie" (CoviSecure Strategy instead of Pandemic), gives companies decisive time in recognising micro-outbreaks, because they receive an overview of the risk constellations of individual company areas. At the same time, thanks to the gargle test, they are independent of laboratory capacities and the availability of medical staff. Since the beginning of December, 6 companies, 4 medical practices and 3 nursing homes have been using CoviSecure.

More information about CoviSecure

An instructional video for the gargle PCR test can be found here: https://www.virus-finder.de/de/info?tab=adults

If you have any further questions about CoviSecureplease contact Janina Stunder (Head of Health Promotion Department) at Gesundes Kinzigtal GmbH (phone: +49 7831 96667-404, e-mail: covisecure@gesundes-kinzigtal.de).)

"Especially in a corona focus practice, where there is almost daily contact with COVID-infected people, CoviSecure is a very good offer to ensure infection-free cooperation. Especially since gargling generates far more acceptance and participation than the unpleasant and far more elaborate swabbing."

Which test procedure is used?

For the regular screening of people at risk from the general population or employees who have no symptoms, a method is needed that is as precise as possible but does not require any of the scarce resources of classic PCR testing with nasopharyngeal swabs for hospitalised patients, for example. The first applications in the field now show that the widely used rapid antigen tests are not precise enough.
 
In late summer, the working group from the B-FAST project headed by Prof. Fischer, the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Risch in Vaduz/Buchs and the laboratory of Swissanalysis AG Tägerwilen, together with manufacturers of molecular biological assays, including ender diagnostics AG Bern, investigated which procedures offered a solution. Together with the laboratory automation manufacturer Hamiliton Bonaduz AG from Domat/Emsch, we have established a molecular biological procedure based on the CE-certified assay enderMASS, in which saliva samples diluted in mouthwash or gargle water are examined using a 1:4 pooling procedure. Currently, further procedures are being established in the Dr. Risch laboratory with alternative manufacturers of non-PCR resource-consuming assays for scaling.
 
The advantage of the method is the very short turnaround time of less than 6 hours for negative samples. The sensitivity naturally does not reach that of a PCR analysis, but it is still a factor of 10 to 100 higher than that of the best antigen tests available on the market. This provides a cheaper process compared to antigen and PCR testing, offering a method for early detection of infected and virus-spreading individuals in the general population or in workers without signs of disease.
 
In addition, a questionnaire application from the ETH Zurich spin-off HealthVision is used, which relates the test results to the statements made by those tested about their own risk, risk to others, risk status and general pandemic situation. In this way, the test frequencies can be adjusted regularly and target group-specifically with repeated testing of the situation in order to achieve maximum early detection efficiency in the most resource-saving way possible. Within the framework of the B-FAST research project of the German Network of University Medicine (NUM) on COVID-19, the use in practice and the implementation in two regions, the Kinzigtal in Germany and the Flims Laax Falera region, is being scientifically accompanied.

"A situation only becomes controllable, if you know it. CoviSecure makes a decisive contribution to this."