Klara Lorenz-Dant (Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science)
6th May 2020
The latest version of the report on the COVID-19 long-term care situation in Germany, just published, includes detailed information on contact tracing of confirmed COVID-19 cases as provided by the Robert Koch-Institute (page 16 of the report). In Germany the responsibility for contact tracing lies with the local health authority. The recommendations state that contact tracing in care and nursing homes should be prioritised.
In the case of a confirmed COVID-19 case, all contacts the person has had until up to two days before symptoms began should be listed. These contacts then are being categorised into category 1, category 2 and (where applicable) category 3.
Category 1 contacts are people that have cumulatively been exposed to at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact or where there has been direct contact of secretion or body fluids of the infected person (for medical and care personnel exposure without protective equipment). Category 2 contacts are people that had less than 15 minutes face-to-face contact (i.e. people in the same room) and that had no direct contact to secretion or body fluids. Category 3 contacts are medical staff that had contact with a confirmed case (? 2m, for example while providing care or as part of a medical examination) while wearing adequate protective equipment throughout the entire contact time as well as medical staff with contact (>2m) without direct contact with secretion, excretions or aerosol exposure.
Different protocols are recommended for each of category of contact.