Earlier this week, Switzerland restricted coronavirus testing. However, some may be unaware of how restrictive the testing is now.
For example, a 60 year old man with a cough, high temperature and breathing difficulties who isn’t in a high risk group (suffering from hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or immunosuppression), isn’t a health worker, doesn’t live in a care home, but is living with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, would not qualify for a test in the canton of Vaud.
A website used by the health authorities in Vaud provides an online questionnaire that establishes whether patients qualify for a test.
When resources are stretched, such test rationing makes sense. However, the number of confirmed cases published in Switzerland will now become increasingly misleading. We’re now flying blind on the number of infections.
So what can we do?
If we have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms, even if they didn’t have them when we saw them, we need to follow hygiene advice and self isolate or self quarantine to slow down the spread and give the vulnerable a higher chance of surviving.
Coronavirus symptoms, based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases analysed in a WHO report on the virus in China, include: fever (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), fatigue (38.1%), sputum (mucus) production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), muscle and joint pain (14.8%), chills (11.4%), nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), and hemoptysis (bloody mucus) (0.9%), and conjunctival congestion (0.8%).
The government has set up an advice hotline (+41 58 463 00 00), which is open around the clock. Although, this hotline does not offer medical advice.
Those who are in a high risk group are still being tested. And those who aren’t are advised to call their doctor if their symptoms worsen. In addition, doctors retain the discretion to test anyone. If in doubt call a hotline or a doctor.