Zug, 07.03.2020

General practitioners ask employees to waive medical certificates

The health director of the Canton of Zug Martin Pfister, together with the two Zug hospital directors, the Cantonal Doctor and the president of the Zug Society of General Practitioners carried out a media presentation on Friday to provide information about the current situation regarding the Corona virus.

As of Friday afternoon, there are now five confirmed corona cases and 16 people in quarantine in the Canton of Zug. The chain of infection can still be traced, says cantonal doctor Rudolf Hauri on request. All five Corona patients, as well as the other people in quarantine, are doing well. The sick people show symptoms between those of a mild cold and a mild flu. "Fortunately, no one in the canton of Zug has yet suffered serious consequences from the virus," says Hauri.

It is now assumed that 80 percent of all infections will be hardly noticed, or not noticed at all. Accordingly, it is clear that the pathogen can no longer be stopped. "But we can slow down the pace at which it spreads." As the cantonal doctor explains, this is important in order to be obtain time to get to know the virus better, to find effective treatment methods, or to even develop a vaccine. In addition, it has now also been shown that, like many other pathogens, the spread first takes place among young, active people and is now slowly being passed on to the older generations.

Registration requirement tightened from Monday
From Monday, events have to be registered for events with a minimum of 150 participants - the limit was previously 200. According to Health Director Pfister, many cantons have agreed on this limit in order to ensure more uniform requirements. Within Central Switzerland, both Lucerne and Schwyz are also applying this limit. Pfister and Hauri say that the ‘time factor’ justifies restricting events and requiring that the names and addresses of all those involved have to be registered in the case of 150 or more people. “We have to do this until we understand the virus better. From a scientific point of view, it’s not yet possible to estimate how aggressive this corona virus really is,” says the cantonal doctor.

Churches also fall under the obligation to register. Events such as funerals can still be held, but the organiser of the event must draw attention to the necessary hygiene measures and ask visitors to leave the room if they have symptoms of colds and flu, or to maintain the required distance in another part of the room.

The Federal Government’s recommendations on how to deal with the Corona virus hang on the door of a pharmacy.

People should also keep their distance in the doctor's waiting rooms. Regula Kaufmann, President of the Zug Society of General Practitioners in Medicine, stated that there are currently fewer patients actually present in many practices. "On the other hand, however, we are spending a lot of time on the phone and communicating via email." Because you have to call by phone before you can come to the practice with cold and flu symptoms. "We’ve also had to send patients out again and ask them to contact us by phone first." Kaufmann also appeals to employers to not to insist on a doctor's certificate for every sick leave.

The two hospitals in the Canton of Zug, the Zug Cantonal Hospital and the Hirslanden Andreas Clinic in Cham, are currently working very closely together. "We meet every day," explains the Cham hospital director Jonas Zollinger, and a “special situation” has been planned. The hospitals plan to work together in the event that many corona cases with complications have to be treated at the same time. "We would not only exchange material, but also personnel as needed," says Cantonal Hospital Director Matthias Winistörfer. Should respiratory equipment become scarce, those of the emergency services could also be used.

Although between 20 and 30 people are currently being tested for the virus every day in the cantonal hospital, the directors affirm that there is normal operation in both hospitals. Planned operations can still be carried out. Disinfectants and protective masks have also been stolen from their hospitals. "At times, we had a tenfold increase in disinfectant consumption," said Winistörfer. But the problem has now been solved.

Restrictions could stay in effect longer
The restrictions imposed by the federal government and the cantons will probably last longer than March 15. Several factors play a role in this, according to Hauri. "The restrictions can be relaxed again as soon as the peak of the wave has passed, as currently in China, and there are fewer infections." The weather can also play an important role here. It’s clear, however, that closing schools is not an issue, says Hauri. "This would probably be counterproductive, because then grandparents would also look after the children, and they are among those at the greatest risk."