Current information about the coronavirus
Switzerland confirmed the first case of a patient infected with the coronavirus on 25 February 2020. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is keeping the public informed about further developments and the unfolding situation.
Current information from FOPH
FOPH-Infoline Coronavirus (24/7)
Are visitors still allowed at the hospital?
Due to the almost daily changing situation and the different cantonal regulations, we kindly ask you to inquire on the respective clinic page which regulation currently exists for your clinic. Thank you for your understanding.
Do not visit the hospital if you suffer from flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, headache or aching limbs). Thank you for your understanding.
Frequently asked questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Situation at Hirslanden
All Hirslanden hospitals are in close contact with the cantonal authorities. By the end of January, all hospitals had already updated their pandemic plans and introduced appropriate measures. Accordingly, they are very well prepared concerning the processes for dealing with suspected and confirmed cases.
We generally orientate ourselves by the guidelines of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the cantonal health departments.
On 16 March,the Federal Council has categorised the situation in Switzerland as extraordinary under the terms of the Epidemics Act.
In an ordinance, it instructed, that hospitals may not conduct non-urgent procedures and treatments.
Therefore, for the time being, operations will only be carried out in our clinics if they can be classified as urgent.
When is an operation urgent?
The cantons have subsidiary responsibility for implementing the federal ordinance. For this reason, various cantonal governments have issued their own ordinances since 16.03.2020, which specify when an operation is to be classified as urgent. The hospitals of the Hirslanden Group consistently implement the ordinance or implementing regulations of their respective canton of location.
Hirslanden hospitals and partner doctors in cantons that have not yet issued detailed ordinances, we recommend that they follow the criteria of the canton of Zurich when implementing the federal ordinance. In the Canton of Zurich, only those surgical interventions are permitted which, if they are not carried out:
- lead to a reduction in life expectancy,
- lead to permanent damage,
- lead to a significant risk of a massive deterioration of the situation or to emergency hospitalisation within the next three months, or
- the quality of life deteriorates to an extraordinary degree (especially pain).
Particular caution is required for interventions that tie up intensive care capacity. Pure preventive and routine examinations are not permitted. The urgency and necessity of an intervention is a medical assessment, in which the COVID-19 crisis must now be included.
Patients should contact their attending physician in case of uncertainty.
How is the new coronavirus transmitted?
The new coronavirus is mainly transmitted in close and prolonged contact: if you keep less than 2 metres away from a sick person for more than 15 minutes. The transmission is by droplets: If the sick person sneezes or coughs, the viruses can get directly onto the mucous membranes of other people's nose, mouth or eyes. Via the hands: Contagious droplets from coughing and sneezing can be on the hands. They can get to the mouth, nose or eyes if you touch them.
How long is the incubation period (time between infection and the appearance of the first symptoms)?
The incubation period of the new coronavirus is about three to seven days. However, it can last up to 14 days.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus disease?
The most common symptoms are fever, cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can vary in severity. Complications such as pneumonia are also possible. Some sufferers also have problems with digestion or the eyes (conjunctivitis).
What must be done in a suspected case?
- If you experience symptoms of illness (breathing difficulties, coughing and fever), stay at home.
- Avoid contact with other people. Inform yourself about self-isolation.
- Consult a doctor or health care institution - always by telephone first - before you visit them.
What to do when you have been in close contact with someone who has an acute respiratory disease?
If you live with someone who shows symptoms of an acute respiratory disease or if you have had intimate contact with such a person, you must confine yourself in quarantine at home for 10 days.
What to do when you have had been in contact with a person infected with the new coronavirus?
If you have had close contact with a confirmed infected person (distance of less than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes), but do not live in the same household and have not had an intimate relationship
- You do not have any symptoms of illness (fever and cough): observe whether symptoms of illness develop.
- You have mild symptoms of illness (fever and cough): stay isolated at home until you have no more symptoms of illness. Then wait another 24 hours until you go out in public again.
- If your symptoms get worse (high fever, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath) or if you have a previous illness and are therefore at particular risk, call a doctor or health care institution. They will decide whether a medical examination is necessary or whether it is sufficient for you to remain at home in isolation.
If you live with an infected person or or if you have had intimate contact with an infected person
- You must confine yourself in quarantine at home for 10 days. Observe whether symptoms of the disease (fever and cough) develop.
How dangerous is the COVID-19 disease?
For most people the disease is mild. Four out of five individuals affected only show signs of a mild flu-like infection, or the disease may even go unnoticed. COVID-19 does not usually pose a threat to younger people without a serious concomitant disease.
15% of those affected become seriously ill, 5% critically. Older people in particular can become seriously ill, and there may be fatalities.
Recent data analyses indicate that the mortality risk is below 1%.
Particularly at risk are persons over 65 years of age or suffering from a serious pre-existing condition (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, weakened immune system, cancer).
Recommendations for people over 65 and those with a pre-existing condition
Are you over age 65 years, or do you have a pre-existing condition (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases or cancer)?
Then we recommend the following:
- Stay at home.
- Avoid public transport.
- Have a friend or neighbour get your shopping for you.
- Conduct business and private meetings via Skype or similar channels.
- Keep visits to nursing homes and hospitals to an absolute minimum.
- Avoid contact with people.
- Stay at home if you have difficulties breathing, a cough or a high temperature. Call your doctor or a hospital immediately. State that you are calling in connection with the new coronavirus and are at a higher risk of illness. Describe your symptoms.
I was / am suffering from breast cancer. Am I at especially high risk?
If you feel healthy now and your follow-up care was uneventful last, you do not belong to a risk group. After breast cancer, women are not more likely to develop infectious diseases. You are now just as healthy as your neighbor and are allowed to feel that way.
Even if you have had chemotherapy in the past, you do not belong to a risk group. Your immune system was only limited by the chemotherapy for a short period of time. As a rule, you can assume that with the recovery of the white blood cells (leukocytes) there is a functioning immune system. You also do not belong to a risk group if you receive infusions with antibodies (e.g. Herceptin® or Perjeta®) after the end of chemotherapy, provided that your blood count has recovered from the chemotherapy.
You are also in no way at increased risk during or after taking anti-hormonal therapy (e.g. Tamoxifen, Anastrozole e.g. Arimidex®, Letrozole e.g. Femara®, Exemestane e.g. Aromasin®).
However, you belong to a risk group if...
a) ... you are currently receiving chemotherapy.
b) ... you are taking so-called CDK4/6 inhibitors (Palbociclib = Ibrance®, Ribociclib = Kisquali®, Abemaciclib).
c) ... you have advanced illnesses which require long-term therapy (e.g. everolimus, alpelisib, cortisone preparations).
How is the disease treated?
Currently, no specific drug is known to be effective against the new coronavirus. There is also no vaccination at the moment. The treatment is purely symptomatic. In the majority of cases the disease is mild and those affected can recover at home. In certain cases, hospitalisation is necessary. In case of pneumonia, ventilation via an artificial lung may be necessary.