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They helped: Hof University thanks employees seconded to the health department

During the corona crisis, thousands of additional employees from other offices and institutions have already been deployed nationwide in the public health service, according to the German Association of Cities. At Hof University of Applied Sciences, too, a total of eight employees agreed without hesitation to help with testing and contact tracing

University employee Katrin Blug has been coordinating all Corona tests in the city and district of Hof arranged by the Hof Health Department since last October; photo: private;

Even though this commitment still continues, they have now been honored for it by university president Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.. Jürgen Lehmann.

The public health departments are under great strain, but they are not overburdened. So far, they have coped well with the challenges posed by the pandemic. And our employees have made their contribution on the ground in the city and district of Hof.”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann, University President

Council of Ministers resolution

Last year, the Bavarian Council of Ministers decided on various measures to cover the personnel requirements of the health authorities in order to combat the Corona virus. A central role is played by so-called “contact tracing”, i.e. the identification and tracking of infected persons and their close contacts. To this end, the establishment of contact tracing teams (CTT) at the health authorities was accelerated. A staff base was to be built up, which would be supplemented at short notice by trained personnel from other authorities if necessary. These personnel can be called upon by health departments at a moment’s notice to contain an infection incident.

Eight volunteers

In a first step, Hof University also had to nominate six people to be assigned to the Hof City and County Health Departments upon request. In a second step – i.e. by increasing the quota – two additional persons were to be named. The specific assignment was to take place exclusively in case of need in the event of a corresponding outbreak. “As is known, this need came faster than feared, so that the first employees began their work in health protection in mid-October 2020. A large number have been working consistently in the health department since that time,” the university president said.

Immediate readiness

The volunteers are employees Katrin Blug, Sonja Ramming, Leonie Ehrenberg, Martina Monien-Zeh, Jörg Dietrich, Marta Malik, Bernd Goerke and Thomas Hansen. “When the request came, you didn’t even think twice about it, but accepted very quickly – that speaks highly of you, and we can’t praise that highly enough,” said Katja Haselbach, deputy head of human resources at Hof University of Applied Sciences.

Sisyphean task of tracking down people

The work to be done consisted and still consists to a large extent of tracing chains of infection: for example, the health department first receives a message about a positive finding from the laboratories

Those affected are contacted by telephone by investigators and physicians. With the help of the patients, it is determined to whom the virus might have been passed on in the meantime. This information is then passed on to the contract tracing team, which takes over responsibility for the rest of the process.”

Jörg Dietrich

The contacts are first entered in a central database, then called up and classified. This also requires a bit of detective work. Depending on the intensity of the contact, a quarantine is declared, the corresponding notice is issued and everything is documented. The contract tracing teams then organize tests, call in regularly by phone and ask about symptoms. The work also includes contacts with companies, institutions and organizations. The aim is to control and contain chains of infection.

High esteem

After a short time, university employee Katrin Blug took over the organizational management of the test team and has been coordinating all Corona tests in the city and district of Hof arranged by the Hof Health Department since October of last year. In addition to the tests at the Freiheitshalle, this also includes all series of tests in kindergartens, schools, care facilities and companies

All deployed employees of Hof University are particularly pleased about the excellent collegial cooperation and the high esteem in which the entire team of the health office is held.”

Katrin Blug

University President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann and Chancellor Dagmar Pechstein thanked the employees for their unselfish and exemplary commitment with a letter of thanks and a small gift.

Rainer Krauß

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