The project «Pool tests for all» will enable people throughout Switzerland to participate in pooled PCR saliva testing. This involves submitting a sample by means of a PCR saliva test at one of the participating testing sites (pharmacies, medical practices, home healthcare services, laboratories test centres etc.). This sample is then mixed together with others to create a pooled sample, which is then analysed in a laboratory: www.pooltests.ch.

If you are interested in providing pooled testing services as a «Pool tests for all» testing centre, you can find further information below. If you would like to register as a test site, please click here.

Three good reasons for testing sites

Outsourced administration

Individuals requesting a test will enter their personal data and details in advance on the platform. This keeps your administrative workload to a minimum.

Compensation as per federal ordinance

Compensation for service provision is set in accordance with the federal ordinance.

Service provision for the wider population

The free, pooled PCR tests with certificate option are interesting for a large part of the population.

Certificates

The test result is usually available within 24 hours of the pooled sample being received by the laboratory and is sent via email to the person tested. In the case of a negative pooled result, a test certificate is issued. 

If a pool result is positive, the persons tested can undergo individual retesting (PCR or rapid antigen test). The costs are covered by the Confederation, the retest s treated and charged in the same way as the testing of a symptomatic person. The testing centre issues a COVID certificate in the event of a negative retest.

Procedure

You can find a detailed description of the individual points further down under the heading «Procedure for test sites».

1
Selection of the testing site
2
Entry of personal data and specification whether a certificate is required
3
Checking of identity and any relevant medical certificates at the testing site
4
Submission of saliva sample
5
Mixing of samples carried out by the testing site («pooling»)
6
Analysis in a laboratory
7
Forwarding of result and certificate
8
Retesting in the case of a positive result

Procedure for test sites

Registration

You will need to register via the website and submit an application to become a pooled testing service provider (testing site).

Review

We will review whether your business is eligible as a pooled testing service provider in accordance with the Covid ordinance (laboratory, pharmacy, doctor's surgery, home healthcare service, test centre).

Contract

You will receive a cooperation contract, which you need to sign and return.

Acceptance

If everything is in order, we will add your business to the «Pool tests for all» system. You will then be included on the list of available testing sites and will be selectable on the platform by those requiring a test. 

Login

We will provide you with access to the platform, where your inbox will display which individuals have registered with you for testing and when.

Verification

The person selects you as a testing site on www.pooltests.ch and registers for a pool test (no appointment, just a registration. On the platform, you can see which people have registered with you). When the person is with you (within five days, after that the registration expires), you are responsible for checking the details they have previously provided on the platform. You will find these in your account on the platform (www.togetherwetest.ch):

  • Proof of identity by passport or ID card

If the information is incorrect or a necessary document is missing, testing cannot be carried out.

As a pooled testing service provider, you will confirm that the saliva sample is from the person listed in the system and that you understand that wrongly issued Covid-19 certificates are considered document falsification and a danger to public health and are therefore punishable by law.

Pooling

You will mix the submitted saliva samples together («pooling») and use the platform to record which individuals belong to which pool. Then you will create a «pooled sample» (transferring the mixed saliva samples by mechanical pipette to a test tube with barcode) with a maximum of ten individual samples. 

Analysis

You will package the pooled sample(s) using one of the envelopes supplied by us and send this by courier (can be arranged via the platform) or by post to a laboratory for analysis.

You can determine the time of pooling and sending the pool samples to the laboratory at your discretion and in coordination with the reverse logistics (cantonal logistics, laboratory courier, postal route, etc.). The transport by A-Post extends the waiting time of your clients for the result by 12- 24h. 

Result and certificate

The test result is usually available within 24 hours of the sample being received by the laboratory and is sent via email and SMS to the persons tested.

  • If the result is negative, they will receive a Covid certificate by email, which is valid for 72 hours from the time the sample is taken.
  • If a pool result is positive or invalid (which happens in rare cases), the tested persons can perform an individual retest (PCR or rapid antigen test). Ideally, this retesting should take place at the same testing site. However, all providers throughout Switzerland who offer this service (pharmacies, medical practices, test centres, laboratories, etc.) can also be used.
    Retesting is covered by the Confederation and is treated and charged in the same way as the testing of a symptomatic person. But in this case, you will issue a COVID certificate in case of a negative result.
    To prove that the person has been in a positive or invalid pool, he/she must show the receipt of his/her registration for the pool test (A4 document, sent by e-mail with the registration), as well as passport/ID for identity control and the health insurance card for billing.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Is my business eligible as a testing site?

According to the Covid ordinance, laboratories, pharmacies, doctor's surgeries and home healthcare services are permitted to act as testing sites.

Are Covid certificates issued?

If a pool tests negative, all persons in this pool automatically receive a COVID certificate by e-mail along with the result. The certificate is valid for 72 hours from the time the sample was taken. The issuing of the certificate is included in the test costs.

If a pool result is positive, the persons tested can undergo individual retesting (PCR or rapid antigen test). The costs are covered by the Confederation. The testing centre issues a COVID certificate in the event of a negative retest.

Which laboratory are the samples sent to?

We work with a large number of laboratories throughout Switzerland as part of the «Pool tests for all» project. The envelopes we provide for sending pooled samples are labeled with the address of the nearest partner laboratory and prepaid to keep the result time as short as possible. Courier collection is also an option in certain regions (visible on the platform). 

What kind of test is carried out and how long does it take?

Pooled PCR saliva tests are used for the testing process. Test kits are used for this, which include an ampoule of saline solution and a sample tube. The saline solution is dispensed into the mouth from the ampoule and used to rinse the mouth for 60 seconds (like when using mouthwash) and the liquid is then transferred to the sample tube. The test must be carried out under your supervision.

How is the test compensated?

Individual retesting is covered by the Confederation and is treated and charged in the same way as the testing of a symptomatic person.

What does the ampoule with saline solution contain?

The ampoules used are sealed airtight and contain sterile saline solution. These ampoules are also used in other areas of healthcare. The information inserts of the various manufacturers are available here. If a person has a problem with rinsing their mouth with saline solution, the saliva can be transferred to the sample test tube and the saline solution then mixed with it. The minimum amount of saliva needed is 0.5 ml.

How many individual samples are mixed together?

Individual samples are mixed together to form a pooled sample, which is then analyzed in a laboratory. If possible, form pools of equal size with 4 to a maximum of 10 individual samples; in exceptional cases, smaller pools may also be submitted. It is important that the samples are always sent to the laboratory as mixed samples in the Vacutainer with the barcode.

What happens if the pool tests positive?

All tested persons and the test site receive the pool result. If the pool result is positive, an individual confirmatory test (PCR or rapid antigen test) can be carried out free of charge at the same or another testing site referred by the former. The costs are covered by the federal government. If the confirmatory test is negative, the test site issues a Covid certificate.

Where can I get help with further questions?

You can reach the hotline for «Pooltests for all» at pooltests@togetherwetest.ch or by telephone on 0800 786 257 (weekdays, 08:00-18:00).