Mass testing in establishments

up

Since April Establishments that are headquartered in the Canton of Basel-Stadt have the opportunity to have their employees tested on a weekly basis for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Regular testing of asymptomatic individuals allows virus carriers to be picked up early and chains of infection to be broken.

Gradual implementation of the testing strategy

The roll-out will initially focus in particular on establishments with an increased likelihood of transmission or higher risk of outbreaks (unavoidable close contact between employees) but also on establishments with customer contact in the service sector. Establishments with a lower likelihood of transmission and risk of outbreaks will be included in further steps.

Type of tests

The Canton of Basel-Stadt is using pooled PCR saliva tests for testing in establishments. With this type of test, employees can take their sample independently (e.g. at home) by gargling a saline solution (no nasopharyngeal swab necessary). Each test person receives an individually valid result via SMS no later than 48 hours after receipt in the laboratory. Pooling (mixing of samples) takes place in the laboratory.

Repetitive testing in establishments using the rapid antigen test is also possible in principle. However, approval restrictions and the specialist staff required would make this more difficult for establishments to carry out at the moment.

You can find more detailed information about the test types on the website of the FOPH.

Eased quarantine

The quarantine of employees of establishments where staff are subjected to systematic and repetitive testing may be eased following close contact with a person infected with Covid-19. In such cases, the easing applies to the discharge of professional duties and to the commute to work, but not to the rest of their time during which the persons affected must remain in quarantine (cf. Article 3d paragraph 3 of the Covid-19 Regulation special situation).

This regulation does not apply to persons who live in the same household with a person suffering from Covid-19. Here, a contact quarantine will continue to be issued without easing. 

Obtaining a COVID certificate

Since September, persons who have been tested repetitively by their establishment with pooled PCR saliva tests have the possibility of receiving a COVID certificate whith a negative test result. The possibiliry to receive a COVID certificate is being offered as part of a pilot project until 30 September and is free of charge for establishments and employees until further notice. COVID certificates are sent electronically and are valid for 72 hours from the point in time when the sample was collected. Please note that employees may only be tested once a week by their establishment and that the delivery of the results can take up to 48 hours after the arrival of the sample in the laboratory. The canton of Basel-Stadt does not guarantee for the timely delivery of the test results and declines all responsibility in the event of COVID certificates not being delivered or being delivered late. Consequently, this option does not replace testing on request at a test centre.

This additional option is not automatically available for establishments. Establishments that would like to offer this additional option to their employees must send an e-mail to: covid.massentest.betrieb@bs.ch. This will be followed by a written briefing including all necessary documents. Frequently asked questions and answers can be found on https://www.coronavirus.bs.ch/en/suspected-infection/massentests-in-betrieben/faq.html in the section "Obtaining a Covid certificate". General information on the COVID certificate is available at: www.coronavirus.bs.ch/en/covid-zertifikat.html

Conditions of participation

  • Participation is voluntary both for establishments and for their employees.
  • A person may only be tested once per week.
  • The tests are done weekly and are intended for people without symptoms. 
  • Participation is free for establishments.
  • Fully vaccinated persons are considered as immune after the 2nd vaccination. Vaccinated persons do not have to be included in serial testings in establishements, but may continue to participate or start testing after the second vaccination. Due to the vulnerable setting, we recommend that staff in old people's and nursing homes, as well as Spitex staff, continue to be serially tested even after complete vaccination.
  • Using testing as part of a safety policy is no substitute for following hygiene rules and codes of conduct or implementing existing safety policies.
  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 may not participate in serial testing for 6 months. Tests can still be positive for this period after infection and would entail self-isolation.

The establishment has the following duties during implementation:

  • Definition of a contact person for coordination and communication by the establishment
  • Internal distribution of test kits to employees
  • Collection and dispatch/transport of samples to the logistics collection point in the canton.

Registration

Businesses can now register using this online form. Please note that the following information is required for online registration:

Information about groups of individuals

  • Total number of employees in the establishment
  • Number of employees on site (not working full-time from home)
  • Estimated number of individuals to be tested

Further information

  • Choice of test type (PCR saliva test (recommended) or rapid antigen test)
  • Safety policy (to be submitted via file upload at the end of the form)

Establishments that have already been registered after asking the canton about testing still have to register using the form.

It is also important to note that subsequent registration on the testing platform is done by the employees themselves and requires a smartphone.

Next Steps

Once you have registered we will check your application. Due to high demand, this process may take some time.

As soon as you have been accepted into the testing program, we will contact you and give you details about the next steps (briefing).

Download:

Testing process in establishments