In view of the worrying increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections over the last three days, the Health Inspectorate's contact tracing unit has adapted its operating mode in order to increase its responsiveness in contacting people. This adaptation will be operational from Friday 23 October 2020.
- If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms: self-isolate!
Newly infected persons will always be called by phone by the Health Inspectorate. However, delays are possible due to the high number of people to be called per day. It is therefore recommended that every person who receives a positive test result self-isolates immediately.
Furthermore, a person who has symptoms compatible with a COVID-19-infection and who has a PCR test performed, should also self-isolate as a precautionary measure while waiting for the test result.
Every person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be contacted in the near future by the Health Inspectorate and given a reference number.
- If you were in high-risk contact with a COVID-19 positive person: Put yourself in self-quarantine!
It is recommended that every person with a positive test result should inform their high-risk contacts themselves so that these can initiate a self-quarantine.
A high-risk contact is defined as
- a contact of more than 15 minutes,
- less than 2 metres away, without properly wearing a mask,
- having taken place within the period of time of 48 hours before the first symptoms, respectively, of the date the test was taken if no symptoms appeared.
The infected person will also give the contact person the reference number assigned by the Health Inspectorate. This reference number will be used for further steps (see below).
The Health Inspectorate will continue to systematically call high-risk contacts for infections in a family setting (the highest risk of transmission since in a family setting the least preventive measures are taken) and will, as in the past, issue a quarantine order which, if necessary, can be used as a certificate of incapacity for work ("CIT"), as well as a prescription for a COVID-19 PCR test on day 6 after the potentially infectious contact.
Contact persons who are not automatically called by the Health Inspectorate but who nevertheless need a quarantine order (certificate of incapacity to work) or a prescription for a COVID-19 PCR test can notify the Health Inspectorate by e-mail, indicating the reference number of the infected person.
This reference number is communicated to the infected person during the initial call by the Health Inspectorate. Communication by e-mail is strongly encouraged as it will allow the best possible response to requests while managing the limited human resources of the Health Inspectorate in the most efficient way.
In this context, it should also be noted that obtaining a quarantine order (and therefore a "CIT") and a prescription for a test is not a real emergency given the time limit granted by the CNS and the time to be observed until the test (in principle on day 6).
The Health Department has also intervened with the Union des Entreprises Luxembourgeoises (UEL) so that the management applies a certain tolerance with regards to the time limits for the delivery of certificates so as not to penalise employees following possible delays by the Health Inspectorate.
For people who still prefer to go to their doctor to obtain these documents, the doctor can prescribe a COVID-19 PCR test for the day 6 check-up.
As a reminder, homeoffice remains an option if there is an agreement between employer and employee.
- The practicalities of self-isolation:
Self-isolation or isolation apply to people who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection. They must isolate themselves at home and people living under the same roof, as well as intimate relationships, must be quarantined for a period of 7 days. This measure is designed to prevent the infected person, who is contagious, from spreading the infection to their surroundings.
Isolation is prescribed by the physician for a minimum of 10 days after the onset of symptoms. During this period of confinement at home, contact with other people must be avoided and a surgical mask must be worn whenever the infected person is in the presence of others.
- Practicalities of the auto-quarantine:
Auto-quarantine applies to people who have been in high-risk contact with a person with a confirmed infection, i.e. face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes, unprotected physical contact, etc.
These people must stay at home for 7 days starting with the last contact with the infected person. The Health Inspectorate will provide them with a certificate for sick leave if necessary. During this period, unprotected contact with other people should be avoided.
From the 6th day, they will be asked, after receiving the prescription, to be tested for COVID-19 in a laboratory of their choice. If the test is negative, the quarantine is automatically terminated.
For 7 days after the quarantine, they must carry out self-monitoring and wear a mask when they are in contact with other people. If symptoms appear, they should be tested anew immediately and placed in isolation.
For more information, please visit the government website www.covid19.lu.
Press release by the Ministry of Health