On 14 October 2020, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) reported 2,823 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection over 24 hours, a record number.
In addition, FOPH reported 57 new Covid-19 hospital admissions and a further 8 deaths. The number of Covid-19 patients in Swiss hospitals is now 415, according to RTS. A similar number (438) was recorded on 16 March 2020.
Over spring, the peak in hospitalisations trailed the peak in positive tests by 10 days.
When the FOPH receives test data it assigns each reported positive test to the day when the test was conducted. Because of reporting delays, most positive cases reported on any given day will be allocated to days in the past. This means reported new positives on any given day will differ from the number of people testing positive on that day. This has no impact on the cumulative total number of recorded cases but it can affect daily peaks and the shape of the curve.
When the 2,823 newly reported cases published on 14 October 2020 are allocated to the days when the tests occurred a record peak of 2,432 appears on 12 October 2020. The next highest daily figures were recorded recently on 9 October 2020 (1,725) and 8 October 2020 (1,471). All of these daily numbers are above the first peak, which occurred on 23 March (1,464).
Recorded numbers of cases in October 2020 are not comparable to those in March 2020. In March, many more people with symptoms went without testing because tests were rationed and the cost was not covered by the government, dissuading people from getting tested. Testing in March was picking up a smaller percentage of actual infections than today.
However, the difference between then and now is shrinking. In March test positivity – the percentage of tests coming back positive – went as high as 26%. Since then, free and more available tests combined with lower infection rates have kept positivity down. For most of May and June positivity was around 1%. During July, August and September it generally hovered around 3%. In October positivity has crept up significantly. FOPH data show positivity reached 17% on 13 October 2020.
According to FOPH, the latest 14-day infection rates in all cantons were above 60 per 100,000, the rate at which Switzerland considers adding a nation or region to its quarantine list. The highest rates were in Geneva (371), Schwyz (368), Jura (324), Appenzell Innerrhoden (316), Valais (291), Neuchâtel (280), Vaud (272), Fribourg (243), Zug (236) and Zurich (174).
Following the recent rise, Geneva and Zurich have announced new measures.
In Geneva, private gatherings have been limited to 100 people and private gatherings of more than 15 must keep a list of participants.
In Zurich, masks are compulsory in bars and clubs and for all gatherings of more than 30 people.
By 14 October 2020, the total number of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infections in Switzerland stood at 68,704 and deaths at 2,108.