FAQ

General questions

What is pooling? Pooling means combining several individual samples into one sample. This combined sample is then tested and the result represents all of the individual samples. Pooling is especially well suited to groups where the illness does not occur frequently. In most cases the pooled samples are negative, i.e. no virus is found. This means that all of the samples included in the batch are negative and do not have to be tested individually. Pooling enables laboratories to analyse several samples within a very short time and to test more people simultaneously.
What is depooling? If a pool tests positive for COVID-19, it is initially not possible to tell which of the pooled samples is positive. The batch then needs to be “depooled”. This can be done in two ways. Option A: All of the saliva samples in the pool are tested again individually. However, this is only possible if the individuals in the pool are known and the individual samples are kept for this purpose. Option B: All of the samples need to be collected again and tested individually. Option A is used for the programme “serial testing in establishments in Basel-Stadt”.
What type of test is used? Pooled PCR saliva testing is used for widespread repetitive testing in the Canton of Basel-Stadt. Repetitive testing using rapid antigen tests is possible in some exceptional cases, but trained specialist staff are required for sampling. This must be discussed with the mass testing team in each individual case.
How do PCR saliva tests work? PCR is a test method that uses virus gene sequences as indicators. These gene sequences are amplified in order to increase the method’s sensitivity. This allows even small quantities of the virus to be detected. Testing does not involve nasopharyngeal swabs. The laboratories work with validated methods available to SwissMedic.
How reliable are PCR saliva tests? Saliva tests with RT-PCR analysis are highly conclusive and considerably more reliable than rapid antigen tests.
How do rapid antigen tests work? Rapid antigen tests are done with nasopharyngeal swabs and give a result between 15 and 20 minutes. They cannot currently be done with a saliva sample.
Where can establishments sign up if they want to take part in the programme? Interested establishes can find out more and register here.
Why should an establishment get involved in the repetitive testing programme? The testing programme helps to detect asymptomatic coronavirus cases early on and to break chains of infection. Establishments are therefore making an important contribution to slowing the spread of the virus, lowering case numbers, preventing closures and getting the coronavirus pandemic under control.
Is it possible for companies to put together the "pools" themselves? No, the pools are brought together randomly in the laboratory, the companies cannot influence the composition.
Establishments must upload a safety policy when they register. Which information needs to be included in this safety policy? The safety policy aims to show what the protective measures against coronavirus look like in the establishment. If your establishment already has several partial safety policies, please summarise them in a document and submit it.
Can employees take part in repetitive testing if they do not have their own smartphone? Yes. However, they do need internet access and their own email address. When they register, these employees must check the box “I would like to participate via email because I do not have a smartphone”. Ticking this box makes email address a mandatory field and the mobile number can be left out.
Which establishments can register for regular mass testing? As of February 17, 2022, only serial tests in limited areas will be funded by the federal government, such as health care facilities us socio-medical institutions, as well as canton-defined enterprises that serve to maintain critical infrastructure.
Where is testing done? Testing is done at the establishment’s site. Alternatively, employees can also take the test kit home with them, do the test at home on the morning of the test day and hand over the sample at work.
How often are the tests done? Unless instructed otherwise by the federal or cantonal authorities, employees are permitted to take part in repetitive testing in companies once a week. In doing so, employees are free to decide whether they want to test weekly, pause or stop, for example during vacations.
What does participation cost? The Federal Government pays the costs of pooled PCR saliva testing. Establishments must organise the logistics and medical staff for rapid antigen testing themselves. They also need to take into account that the FOPH refunds a certain amount that will not necessarily over all of the costs. Establishments must also cover any costs for transporting samples to the cantonal collection point.
What do participating establishments need to do? Establishments register for repetitive testing here. Each establishment needs to specify a contact person when they register. The canton checks the registration and gets in touch with the establishment. If it satisfies the criteria for participation, the establishment bindingly registers for repetitive testing online, informs its workforce and encourages them to take part (testing is voluntary for employees). The canton provides materials for internal communication (flyers, posters, videos, presentation, etc.). Interested employees register using a QR code. Establishments must ensure that their employees receive all of the necessary information about mass testing in establishments and set up “hand-out and collection” points in the establishment. Establishments must also ensure that the samples collected are delivered to the cantonal collection point within the specified time frame on the test day.

How does internal communication work?

Establishments are given the relevant documents during the briefing, e.g. a presentation for providing information to staff, a detailed schedule, instructions for the saliva test and posters for identifying the “hand-out and collection points”, etc.
What should be done if the stock of test kits in the company decreases or there are not enough test kits left for future tests? Please contact our support team at the following e-mail address Covid.Massentest.Betrieb@bs.ch. Your order will then be processed immediately and additional test kits will be delivered to your company. The delivery then usually arrives at the company approx. 3-5 working days later.
Should staff who are working from home also take part in testing? No. Staff who only work from home do not take part in serial testing.
Are people tested if they have already had Covid-19?

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 may not participate in serial testing for 6 weeks. Tests can still be positive for this period after infection and would entail self-isolation. This regulation does not apply to individual tests in the event of symptoms, but only relates to serial testing.

You can read about the latest requirements on this website in the paragraph “Conditions of participation”.

Are people tested if they have been vaccinated? You can read about the latest requirements on this website in the paragraph “Conditions of participation”.
Are people tested if they are regularly taking rapid tests? Yes. PCR saliva tests are highly conclusive and considerably more reliable than rapid tests.
Is preference given to establishments that have been particularly affected by the virus? Establishments with on-going large outbreaks are generally not given preferential treatment. Individual cases are analysed in larger outbreaks.
How long can the saliva pool be stored before laboratory analysis? It is essential that samples are collected on the test day (i.e. on the day of transport to the laboratory). This means that samples cannot be taken the day before and then stored overnight.
Does the saliva pool need to be refrigerated? The saliva pool does not need to be refrigerated. Storage at room temperature is sufficient. Direct sunlight and heat should be avoided.
Do all saliva samples have to be packed separately and handed in at the collection point? No. You can also bring several individual samples together in one shipping bag to the collection point.
Can staff be required to participate?

Unless otherwise specified in the Ordinance on Additional Measures of the Canton of Basel-Stadt to Combat the Covid 19 Epidemic, participation is voluntary.

What happens if an establishment has a positive pool? If this happens, the “depooling” process described above is used (analysis of the individual saliva samples in the laboratory without resampling).
What is the procedure in the event of a positive test result? Individuals who test positive must go into isolation immediately and will be contacted by the competent contact tracing team in the canton.
What happens if the test result is negative? The individuals tested will be informed of the test result via SMS.
How long does it take for test results to become available? The test result is usually available within 24 hours after receipt of the sample in the laboratory.
Can a negative test result from the company tests be used for cross-border travel? No, the negative test result is usually not sufficient to travel abroad. Please check the entry regulations of the destination.
Are the test days binding for the entire company? You are free to define the working days (Monday to Friday) on which testing takes place in your company. Please note that employees may only be tested once a week in their company, unless otherwise ordered by the federal government or the canton. 
Can employees who work part-time or do shift work also be tested on other days? Yes. Employees who are not on site on the regular testing day are welcome to participate in serial testing on another day. If necessary, the employee must organise the transport to one of the cantonal collection points on his/her own.
Are the chosen collection points binding? No. Companies and their employees are free to choose the best collection point for them. It is important that the test persons deposit their samples at the collection point of their company on the same day or that they bring them independently to one of the 10 cantonal collection points. The company must ensure that the samples are delivered to the cantonal collection point in good time. Please also note the opening hours of the collection points, as they are usually closed on Sundays and public holidays, testing is not possible on these days.
Are the costs also covered for cross-border commuters? Yes. The Federal Government also covers the costs for employees from abroad.
How long does it take to get a test result? All tested persons will be notified of their test result by text message or email no later than 24 hours after receipt of the samples in the laboratory. If a tested person has not received a result, he or she must contact the person responsible for the tests in the establishment, who in turn must contact the support team at Covid.Massentest.Betrieb@bs.ch
The following informations are required to carry out the investigations: last name, first name, mobile phone number and/or email address AND, if possible, the scanned barcode.

 

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For employees of participating establishments

My establishment is taking part in the programme. How do I register? You will get all of the information required for registering for the testing programme from your establishment.
Who cannot participate in the testing programme? People who have had a positive COVID-19 test during the past 6 weeks are not allowed to participate. If the result was more than 6 weeks ago, the individual can join the programme. The programme is exclusively intended for employees in a registered establishment and not, for example, for family members.
Where can I find the instructions for the PCR saliva test? You can find detailed instructions for testing on this website.
How will I find out my test results? Participants are informed of their individual test result by SMS or email. If the participant didn’t give a mobile telephone number when they registered, they will be informed of the test result via email.
I forgot to scan/check or confirm the barcode on the vacuum tube. What can I do? Individual samples that cannot be assigned in the laboratory will be destroyed. Please participate in repetitive testing again next week.
What happens with personal data? No personal data or test results are sent to the establishment. The establishment only receives the test statistics. More details about this can be found in the declarations of consent that must be acknowledged at registration.
What is the staffing effort required to participate in mass testing? Participation in mass testing in establishments is straightforward and inexpensive. Firstly, appointing a person responsible for the site is defined as the responsibility of the establishment. This person is responsible for internal communication. Furthermore, the establishment is also responsible for delivering the samples to the cantonal collection points on test days. Everything else is the responsibility of the canton, including pooling (mixing) of the samples, depooling in the event of a positive pool and deliveries of empty test kits.
What can employees with foreign cell phone numbers do if no result can be transmitted to them due to technical difficulties?

If results frequently cannot be transmitted to German or French network providers, please let us know at the following address Covid.Massentest.Betrieb@bs.ch. In exceptional cases, there is a way to work around the problem until further notice. To do so, please proceed as follows: 

 

  1. Delete the old profile. In the my.easytesting profile, go to the menu at the top right, select profile, scroll down and click on delete profile.
  2. Scan the QR code again in the company and open it in a different browser (otherwise the old profile will be reactivated automatically).
  3. The test persons should not enter a cell phone number when registering, only the e-mail address.
  4. In the field Participation via e-mail, please activate the checkbox "I would like to participate via e-mail, as I do not have a cell phone".
  5. You will then be asked to enter a TAN code, which will be sent to the specified e-mail address.
  6. After entering the TAN code, the persons receive the link to their personal my.easytesting profile via e-mail.
  7. The employees concerned can then participate in repetitive testing again. The barcode on the tube must be entered manually.
What if I miss a test date? You should get tested again on the next available test date.
Can employees keep working as normal while waiting for their test result? Yes – provided the currently applicable protective and hygiene measures are adhered to and the individual being tested does not have any COVID-19 symptoms.
How big are the test groups? Participation in the testing programme no longer requires a minimum number of participants.
What should I do if there isn’t a barcode on the test tube? Please talk to the person responsible for the establishment.
What happens if I enter my login data for my.easytesting profile incorrectly? If participants enter their login data (username and password) incorrectly 3 times, the profile is locked for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, the profile will be unlocked and participants can log in again.

 

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Establishments active throughout Switzerland

Our establishment
is active throughout Switzerland.

Where can we register the establishment?

Establishments active throughout Switzerland with headquarters in the Canton of Basel-Stadt can contact the support email address: Covid.Massentest.Betrieb@bs.ch

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Distribution and collection of tests

How do establishments get the test kits? Once your establishment has successfully registered, it will be sent (empty) test kits by the canton. The test kits are sent to you by post to the relevant site. 
How do the saliva samples get to the collection point? The establishment itself organises and finances transport of saliva samples from the establishment to a collection point (selected post office branch).

It’s too difficult for us to get to the post office.

Are there other options for sending the saliva samples to 
the laboratory?

Unfortunately not. It is not possible to send samples from the establishment straight to the laboratory. Establishments can choose to use a courier service to send the samples to the collection point.
Can the tests be handed over
at the post office counter?
No. Collection containers for the saliva samples will be available at the relevant collection point. The samples can be placed in these containers (either by the establishment itself or by a courier).
What is the purpose of the collection points at the post office? This process is cost-effective and efficient because the collection points mean that every establishment does not need to be visited individually.
How often are the collection containers with the samples emptied? The collection containers are emptied twice a day.
The collection container is full. Where can I hand in my samples? Please notify the staff at the post office counter if the collection container is full.
Why are only some post offices participating as collection points?

For logistical reasons, it is unfortunately not possible to have a cantonal collection point in each post office branch.

The Department of Health Basel-Stadt has
chosen the location of the cantonal collection points so that the distances to hand in the samples are as short as possible for the establishments.

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Obtaining a Covid certificate

Is it possible to obtain the Covid certificate by means of repetitive testing in establishments? Yes. The Department of Public Health of Basel-Stadt has been offering this option to all establishments which are participating in repetitive testing since September 2021. 
What are establishments required to do in order to receive Covid certificates for employees by means of repetitive testing? The option to receive the Covid certificate is automatically activated for all participating companies. All necessary documents & instructions for obtaining the Covid certificate are available on our website Obtaining a COVID certificate (bs.ch). The person in charge of the company will receive documents on the procedure, which have to be read carefully. Then, the company has to determine identity-checking persons and informs its employees.
What is an identity-checking person and which are its tasks? An identity-checking person is authorized by the manager to verify and confirm the identity of employees. For this purpose, the identity-checking person is registered with his/her phone number in the establishment's dashboard.
Is there a fee for obtaining the Covid certificate? No. The Covid certificate, which is issued by means of repetitive testing in establishments, is free of charge for establishments and employees until further notice.
What do I have to do to obtain a Covid certificate by means of repetitive testing in my company? Employees who would like to receive a Covid certificate by means of repetitive testing in their establishment must have their identity checked and confirmed by an authorized person via their my.easytesting profile. The instructions & information on obtaining the Covid certificate must be read carefully.
How time-consuming is it to obtain the Covid certificate? Obtaining the Covid certificate involves a certain amount of work for establishments and employees. If the instructions & information on how to obtain the Covid certificate are read carefully, the process is easy to implement.
For how long is the Covid certificate valid? The Covid certificate, which is issued by means of repetitive testing in establishments, is valid for 72 hours from the point in time when the sample is taken.
What can I do if I need to receive the certificate on time? The Canton of Basel-Stadt does not guarantee for the timely delivery of test results and declines all responsibility in case the COVID certificates not being delivered or being delivered late. If you need to receive a certificate on time, we recommend that you get tested at an official test centre. Please find the current test centres in Basel-Stadt here: Information on Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Test sites (bs.ch).
Can I travel abroad with the Covid certificate? No. In order to travel by plane or abroad with a valid Covid certificate, the passport number must be noted down on the Covid certificate. This is only possible at official test centres, please present your valid identification documents there.

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Obtaining a certificate of recovery

How do I obtain my recovery certificate after testing positive for COVID-19 through serial testing in companies? All information is available online via www.coronavirus.bs.ch/en/covid-zertifikat under the section 3. Application for a recovery certificate after participation in mass testing program (cantonal mass testing program). If you have any difficulties obtaining the certificate, please send an e-mail to our Mass Test Support: Covid.Massentest.Betrieb@bs.ch

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