Health, 25.11.2021

Zug cantonal doctor on the high workload of contact tracing

The number of corona cases in the canton of Zug is at a new high. This is a major challenge for the contact tracing.

The canton of Zug is currently recording the highest number of cases than ever before in this pandemic. The highest number of new infections per day - 140 positive cases - was recorded on Wednesday, 17 November 2021. The previous high was just over 100 new infections – in the second wave a year ago. From 17 November, the 7-day average in the canton of Zug has also been higher than it has ever been in this pandemic.

The many daily new infections are still being contacted by contact tracing – and this is becoming a challenge, as the Zug cantonal physician Rudolf Hauri explains in an interview.

How many job percentages are currently being deployed to trace cases?
At the moment, it’s around 700 job percentages.

How is the workload for contact tracing compared to a year ago?
It’s currently higher than in the autumn of 2020. It can be clearly felt that the infected people now have more social contacts again – for example in clubs. This means that more contact persons have to be called. The series tests at the schools also involve a great deal of work.

Have the vaccinations had an influence on the work load?
No, the vaccinations have not brought any relief for the contact tracing, as all contact persons still have to be contacted. The vaccination status is only recorded and checked. during the call (protection of privacy: ed.).

Is it still possible to call all the new cases within 24 hours?
All the infected persons and their contacts can normally still be contacted within this time period.

Rudolf Hauri, Cantonal Doctor for Zug
Photo: Anthony Anex

The series tests in the schools are an important tool to avoid major outbreaks. Can all the students with a positive test result be informed by the early morning of the day after sampling?
As a rule, this is possible. The results from the series tests are treated as a priority by contact tracing. In the case of overloads of the laboratories, however, there may be slight delays in a few exceptional cases.

The workload is now so great In the canton of Lucerne that the first contact is made via an SMS message. Is this also a possible solution in Zug if the number of cases continues to increase?
We currently still contact all persons by phone. People who test positive receive an SMS in preparation, so that they can already compile information about the contact persons. This facilitates and accelerates the work of contact tracing.

Can contact with the patients at home still be realised?
Up to now, the infected persons have only been contacted at the beginning and end of the isolation. The exceptions are people who live alone or have severe symptoms. This will continue to be the case.

Are there currently efforts to further expand contact tracing?
New tracers and tracers have been, and are constantly being recruited.

(This interview was conducted in writing.)