Preventive repeat testing at companies and schools makes it possible to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 and to interrupt chains of infection early on to prevent the virus from spreading without detection. The TOGETHER WE TEST platform has been developed to organise these tests.
Three good reasons for repeat testing
Employees in companies that carry out regular testing benefit by exemption from the quarantine obligation. Employees can continue working despite close contact with someone who has tested positive.
Repeat testing is free of charge for schools and companies.
Repeat testing ensures the safety of your staff, customers and visitors. Outbreaks can be identified early on and infected persons quickly isolated.
Solutions coordinated at cantonal level
The Bundesamt für Gesundheit (Federal Health Department) considers targeted repeat testing to be a cornerstone of the new testing strategy. It has been shown that broad-based testing of the population can significantly reduce the incidence rate as it not only detects virus carriers with symptoms, but also those who are asymptomatic.
With the TOGETHER WE TEST platform Hirslanden offers cantons, companies, schools and government agencies the option of repeat asymptomatic testing via pooled PCR saliva tests.
Testing in the individual cantons
- Blue: Contract cantons of TOGETHER WE TEST (tailor-made solutions for repetitive testing).
- Grey: No contract with TOGETHER WE TEST, but repetitive testing possible within the framework of pooled tests at test centres (start in November 2021).
The canton has opted for cooperation with TOGETHER WE TEST.
The canton informs companies about the option of regular testing.
Companies register on the canton's website and then on the TOGETHER WE TEST platform.
Companies appoint pool managers* and register them on the platform.
The test material ordered by the company will be delivered to the address supplied. The initial delivery kit includes protective material such as disposable gloves and goggles as well as information materials.
The pool manager distributes the test kits to staff.
Employees perform the test themselves and give the samples to the pool manager. The pool manager combines the samples into "pools" of max. 10 samples each.
The pool samples are taken to the lab via the optimum logistics channel (varying by canton, e.g. collection points, courier services, etc.).
The pool manager and the people in each pool are informed of the pool result. If any of them are not registered on the platform, they are informed of the result by the pool manager.
With a positive pool result the people from the pool each have to take a confirmation test (new PCR saliva test or PCR nasopharyngeal swab).
Statistical and accounting data are processed for the canton.
* Pool managers have the following tasks:
- Ordering test kits via the TOGETHER WE TEST platform
- Distributing test kits to staff in the different test groups ("pools")
- Collecting tests
- Pooling (combining) the individual samples into one pool sample
- Forwarding the pooled sample to the lab
- Informing staff of their results on receipt
PCR saliva tests are used for repeat testing. They are simple to manage and can be carried out anywhere by employees themselves. To do so, they rinse their mouth with a little saline solution for 60 seconds and then convey it into a sample tube via a funnel. The next step is to combine a maximum of ten individual samples into a "pool" in a collection container and to transfer this to a separate sampling tube. This "pool sample" is then analysed at the laboratory.
PCR saliva tests are very reliable and, in contrast to other types of test, offer the ideal basis for screening the mobile population to detect asymptomatic cases of Covid-19.
Rapid antigen tests can also be used for regular testing at companies. It is however important to know that in this setting these tests are carried out by healthcare professionals. We offer you individually tailored solutions for regular testing with rapid antigen tests as well as for events, meetings or congresses.
Overview of the different types of test:
The regular tests are free of charge for companies and schools taking part, with the costs of testing being assumed by the Confederation and canton. Individual solutions (e.g. external pooling, express reverse logistics or courier collection at specific times) must however be borne by companies themselves.
It is necessary for each company to appoint someone responsible for organising testing: the pool manager. This person makes the test kits available, assembles the individual samples into pool samples, coordinates shipment of the samples to the lab and updates the information on the platform.
No additional staff are required for the performance of testing: employees carry out the saliva tests themselves, either at home or at a testing point in the company.
The Covid-19 virus is often transmitted by people without symptoms. The Confederation assumes that this is even the case in over half of all Covid-19 transmissions. These people can be identified via repeat testing, so allowing chains of infection to be interrupted early on. Studies have shown that the incidence per business sector can be reduced by 20 to 50% with this measure. Repeat testing is thus an important way of reducing the spread of the Covid-19 virus alongside adhering to hygiene and social distancing rules, contact tracing and the Covid-19 vaccine.
This is where Hirslanden comes in with the "TOGETHER WE TEST" online platform. This platform offers cantons, companies, schools and government agencies the option of repeat asymptomatic testing via pooled PCR saliva tests. Hirslanden and the partner companies involved are thus making a contribution towards returning to normal daily life as soon as possible.
As a Swiss national healthcare provider, the Hirslanden Group, together with public and private partners, offers integrated healthcare throughout the course of life, the so-called continuum of care. Alongside prevention, counselling, therapy and after-care, this also involves medical diagnostics, which includes preventive repeat testing.