Information on the current situation, as of 21 March 2023
The key figures will be published each Tuesday at 15:30.
Outpatient consultations with suspected COVID-19
The data published here are based on information from the Sentinella reporting system. This system serves to monitor transmissible acute diseases as well as research in the area of family medicine. Around 160 to 180 doctors working in the outpatient sector participate in the Sentinella reporting system on a voluntary basis. Since March 2020, they have been transmitting information to the FOPH on initial outpatient consultations held with patients with suspected COVID-19 at medical practices and during home visits. Based on these reports, the number of such consultations is estimated on a weekly basis (extrapolation).
Around one-third of Sentinella doctors send a nasopharyngeal swab from some of their patients with suspected COVID-19 to the National Reference Centre for Influenza (NRCI) for laboratory diagnostics. Since the end of September, the NRCI has also been testing the swabs for SARS-CoV-2, RSV and other respiratory viruses (include adenoviruses, bocaviruses, other coronaviruses (229E, HKU1, OC43), metapneumoviruses parainfluenza viruses (1–4), and rhinoviruses) in addition to influenza. Based on this data, the distribution of circulating respiratory viruses is estimated each week.
The definition of what constitutes a suspected COVID-19 case changed during the course of the pandemic. Since October 2022, all acute respiratory illnesses, defined as “illnesses with an acute onset that involve coughing, a sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose AND which are of infectious origin as assessed by a doctor”, are considered suspected COVID-19. This definition is consistent with the definition of an “acute respiratory infection” used by the WHO, which recommends it for the sentinel surveillance of COVID-19. Until the end of September 2022, suspected COVID-19 cases were identified in line with clinical suspicion as per notification obligation.
The reporting week in the Sentinella reporting system corresponds to the week of the initial consultation and runs from the Saturday of the previous week until Friday.
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Development of the consultations over time
Outpatient consultations, Switzerland, 21.03.2020 to 10.03.2023
Development of virus distribution over time
Detected respiratory viruses, Switzerland, 26.09.2020 to 10.03.2023