Due to the existing health threat caused by the corona virus pandemic, the Board of Directors of the Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) had decided to reduce all activities at the institute to a minimum, starting March 23 and lasting till April 19, 2020 (Phase A). The aim of this preventive measure was to limit the spread of the corona virus and protect our staff from possible infections by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Since April 20, 2020, the FLI gradually began to return to less restricted operation modes (Phase B and Phase C). Thus, in compliance with all regulations and legal obligations, a certain degree of experimental scientific research was made possible again in Phases B and C, in comparison to Phase A.
Phase D began on June 1, 2020, and ended on June 19, 2021, representing the third stage of the COVID-19 contingency adjustment on the way to workplace normalcy at FLI.
Due to the low numbers of Corona infections nationwide and the progress in the vaccination campaign, the FLI was in Phase E since June 20, 2021. Compared to the previous Phase D, Phase E allowed further relaxations in the established measures at FLI - based on the federal emergency brake – to allow relaxations from an incidence value in Jena of 35 (number of infections per 100,000 population in the last 7 days). It was determined that phase E loses its validity if the above threshold is exceeded again on at least three consecutive calendar days. In this case.
With the introduction of a new corona early warning system, the local hospitalization rate and the Thuringia-wide utilization of intensive care beds will be taken into account as additional indicators in addition to the seven-day incidence in the event of rising corona infection figures. Based on these indicators of the Thuringian early warning system, Jena was in warning level 1 since October 7, 2021, and warning level 2 since October 20. The FLI was therefore been back in phase D since October 9, 2021.
Taking into account the nationwide progress of the vaccination campaign as well as the possibility of FLI in-house PCR testing established at our institute, the FLI was in a new phase F since October 25, with the inclusion of 3G+ regulations. In this context, the 3G+ option means that there were facilitations at various points for persons at FLI who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative (PCR test required). With the option to apply the 3G+ regulation in various ways, there was relief, among other things, in the obligation to wear a medical face mask, in the use of shared offices or in the holding of meetings / gatherings and other non-public events.
Due to the renewed increase in the incidence of Covid 19 infections in Germany, especially in Thuringia and the neighboring federal states, it was necessary to introduce new measures that will enable the safe continued operation of the FLI. Key points of this new Phase G starting November 24, 2021 at FLI are the implementation of the legal requirements of the amended Infection Protection Act, such as the introduction of a 3G regulation at the workplace and the renewed priority of activities in the home office.
As before, the generally applicable AHAL rules (distance, hygiene, daily routine with medical face mask and ventilation) also apply in phase G, as does the infection protection concept in conjunction with the current rules.
The overriding principle remains not to endanger the health of our employees, to ensure the care of our laboratory animals and to prevent further spread of the coronavirus as best as possible.
The general goal is to ensure a safe environment for all employees while resuming productive work at the FLI. The following principles, which are part of FLI’s infection protection concept, shall help to balance these objectives:
- Persons that experience symptoms that resemble COVID-19 symptoms must not enter the FLI.
- The physical distancing between individuals has to be observed strictly at all times. Wherever possible, remote work is endorsed and facilitated.
- Contacts between members of the animal facility staff and other employees have to be avoided whenever possible.
- All measures outlined here should facilitate contact tracing in case of an infection.
- All measures must be communicated in a timely and transparent manner.
The specific measures are being evaluated frequently by the Board of Directors, together with the FLI Covid Planning Group, and adaptations to new developments of the pandemic are issued. Accordingly, the FLI guidelines closely follow all rules established by the State of Thuringia and the City of Jena. Regular assessments of the current situation will allow for rapid adaptation to new developments and will determine the duration of Phase G.
We will inform regarding further developments here.
FLI employees can find all important information.