Infection control

As society gradually opens up a little, people will start getting together more than before. This may also increase the chances of spreading infection. 

On this page you find prevailing regulations at NTNU, as well as information, advice and short videos from several public-sector and central sources in Norway. This is a supplement to NTNU’s guidelines for physical attendance on campus and guidelines for necessary work in laboratories and workshops.

Topic page about HSE

Norsk versjon: Smittevern

Transmission routes – direct and indirect #

The coronavirus (and thus the Covid-19 disease) is mainly transmitted via droplets and direct contact via two possible transmission routes: 

  • The direct route is through the air or through direct contact
    • Infection through the air is possible when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and the virus is inhaled or comes into contact with the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth of another person nearby.
    • Contact transmission takes place when the virus is transferred from the hands of an infected person to another person, who through their own hands brings the virus into contact with mucous membranes in their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • The indirect transmission route is via objects and surfaces.
    • The coronavirus can survive on surfaces from a few hours to several days, depending on the type of surface, the temperature and the humidity, among other things.

When we know how the virus can be transmitted, we can help to stop it from spreading by blocking the transmission route using hygiene and distance measures. 

Simple and effective measures to prevent the spread of infection #

  • Stay at home if you have respiratory tract symptoms, if you suspect that you have Covid-19 disease or if you are in quarantine.
  • Wash your hands frequently, using soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that many people touch.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands.
  • Avoid coughing and sneezing towards other people.
  • Cough and sneeze in a tissue. If you do not have a tissue or paper towel available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Don't shake hands.
  • Avoid kissing and hugging.
  • Keep minimum 1 metre away from other people.

Everyone must carry out hygiene measures frequently, regardless of what they know about their own infection status and that of others.

Advice for infection control on campus #

General measures #

  • Limit physical meetings and breaks where several people meet. Use videoconferencing instead of physical meetings/discussions/supervision/courses where possible.
  • Have tissues/paper towels and hand sanitizer readily available.
  • Avoid touching the most frequently touched surfaces:
    • Use your elbow to open doors
    • Use a tissue when you touch a door handle
    • Use your access and ID card or your little finger when you enter your access code
  • Avoid using rings and hand jewelry at work.
  • Limit sharing of material (such as pencils, pens, tablet computers, PCs, etc.). When material is shared, procedures for cleaning must be followed.
  • You may also clean equipment that is not used by others, such as mobile phones.
  • Spend as little time as you can in areas with high pedestrian flows.
  • Create local routines for hygiene around kitchenettes/lunch rooms.
  • Limit the use of public transport to and from the workplace wherever possible.
  • If there are employees who work at several campuses, they must receive training in the local procedures in effect at each campus. Efforts should be made to avoid working at different campuses on the same day.

The use of rooms on campus #

  • There is no limit on the number of participants, but the room must be large enough for all participants to have at least 1 meter distance to other people. Distance requirements apply in all directions.
  • The activity must be risk assessed with regard to entry and exit routes, toilets, kichenettes/lunch rooms, warderobes, cleaning and other tenants in addition to infection control. Local conditions and challenges can also lead to the need for further risk assessments.
  • Chairs, benches, tables, etc. that cannot be used, in order to comply with distance requirements, must be clearly marked, e.g. by using plastic cover or lashing tape.
  • All participants should clean their hands before and after using the room.
  • Hand wash or disinfection options and equipment needed for local cleaning should be readily available.
  • Touch surfaces and common equipment (such as meeting tables, armrests, touch panels, keyboards, etc.) must be cleaned by the user after use.
  • Keep a list of participants in case the need for infection detection arises. 
  • Plans for teaching and other activities must be organized in such a way that there is as little contact as possible between different groups. Different groups should have breaks at different times.

Use of face masks and safety goggles #

FHI generally does not recommend the use of medical face masks and non-medical face masks. A very few work situations involve close contact between people, i.e. less than 1 metre distance for more than 15 minutes. In such cases, it may be necessary to use face masks and safety goggles. The need for this must be risk assessed in the individual work situation.

Cleaning procedures #

  • The Campus Services Division provides cleaning in all areas that are in use, with methods adapted to the coronavirus situation.
  • Users of shared equipment must clean the equipment themselves before and after use:
    • Use disposable cloths (paper, microfibre) with water and ordinary cleaning agents that dissolve fat and grease.
    • Disinfectant (70 % ethanol) must be used on surfaces that cannot withstand water and cleaning agents. Before using disinfectants, wipe away visible dirt using a cloth or paper towel.
    • Avoid using sprays, because this will cause aerosol formation and swirling of dust/particles.
    • Remember hand washing after cleaning.

Measures in case of proven Covid-19 in student or employee #

  • The student or employee reports the illness to the head of the department or the line manager.
  • The manager notifies the Campus Services Division via e-janitor (e-vaktmester).
  • Rooms where a student or employee with proven Covid-19 have stayed for more than 15 minutes continuously must be shut off immediately. 
  • The manager, together with the Campus Services Division, assesses the need for continued shutdown of the premises or cleaning in accordance with the guidelines for cleaning in case of proven corona infection.
  • The person with a proven Covid-19 must be isolated. Isolation at home applies to those who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 but do not need to be hospitalized.
  • Students or employees who have been in close contact with a person with proven Covid-19 should be in home quarantine.

Information about disease transmission and hand hygiene #

Hand washing is the most important way to stop transmission of infection. Short nails are easier to keep clean than long nails. For this to be effective, it must be done correctly:

  • Wash your hands with lukewarm water and liquid soap.
  • Washing loosens dirt, bacteria and viruses from the skin and they get rinsed away with the water.
  • Students and staff must wash their hands and wrists thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Then dry your hands with a disposable paper towel.
  • When you have dried your hands, use the paper towel to turn off the tap.

This video from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) shows the steps in washing your hands the right way (in Norwegian).

Both students and staff must wash their hands #

  • Before leaving home and on arrival back home
  • When entering the campus
  • When moving to a different work space or work equipment
  • After coughing/sneezing and wiping your face/blowing your nose
  • After toilet visits
  • Before putting on gloves and after removing gloves
  • Before and after meals
  • After going outside
  • If hands are visibly dirty

If virus and bacteria were visible #

This video from FHI shows how infections are spread via our hands, and makes the importance of hand washing clearly visible.

Use of gloves #

Wearing gloves does not reduce the need for hand hygiene, because disease transmission via hands in gloves takes place in the same way as for hands without gloves. FHI does not recommend routine use of disposable gloves. This video clip shows why incorrect use of gloves causes a risk of infection.

The video was made for health professionals, but it is relevant because it shows how viruses are transmitted via our hands.When disposable gloves are used, it is important to know how to put them on and remove them. FHI has made a film which shows the correct procedure when using disposable gloves.

Hand sanitizer #

The coronavirus is sensitive to alcohol, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if you do not have access to soap and water. Note that the effect depends on using enough alcohol to wet your wrists and all surfaces of your hands. Let your hands air dry afterwards. If your hands are visibly dirty, disinfection will not work.

See a short video on correct hand disinfection here.

Hand disinfection in brief

  • Alcohol-based sanitizer (hand rub) is an option if no hand washing facilities are available.
  • Hand sanitizer should be placed in locations where it is not possible to wash your hands.
  • Alcohol-based disinfection is not very effective on wet and/or visibly dirty hands. Hand washing is advised in these cases.
  • Use enough hand rub, cover all surfaces of your hands and wrists, and let it dry in the air.

If you would like to explore the chemistry and nanotechnology behind soap and alcohol to prevent virus infection, you can read this article from Aftenposten (in Norwegian):

Vanlig håndsåpe fungerer bedre mot koronavirus enn Antibac! (Ordinary hand soap works better against coronavirus than Antibac!)

Help #

Carrying out a risk assessment

Sources of more information #

Facts and advice from Norwegian authorities:

Sikresiden.no – infection control

Korona i arbeidslivet (in Norwegian, useful information for handling the coronavirus in working life) – the University Hospital of North Norway

Contact #

Updated: 18 May 2020

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