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What you need to know about the coronavirus

Where can I get tested? Who pays the costs? We provide helpful and important information.

Symptoms & tests

I have symptoms of illness – what should I do?

If you have symptoms like fever and coughing, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) says you must stay at home in order not to infect anyone else. The FOPH insists that you should get tested even if you have only mild symptoms in order to identify as many chains of infection as possible. You can also take the Coronavirus Check to determine whether a test is necessary. Your doctor will also be able to advise you.

Stay at home until the test results are available. If the test is positive you must go into isolation. If the test result is negative, you can stop isolating as soon as you have been free of symptoms for 24 hours.

Where can I get tested?

You can get tested for the coronavirus at various doctors, test centres, hospitals and pharmacies. As the cantons are responsible for ensuring access to tests, you can find information on the various testing facilities on the cantonal websites. An overview is available on the FOPH website under «Coronavirus: Tests».

Do I have to pay for the test myself?

No. Your doctor will decide whether you need to be tested. If a test is necessary, the federal government will pay the cost, provided that the FOPH’s criteria are fulfilled. The cost of PCR tests will not be covered e.g. if you require a negative test result to travel.

The federal government covers the cost of rapid antigen tests (max 1 test/person per week) and antigen self-tests (up to 5 tests per person every 30 days). This means you can use them to test yourself for free even if you have no symptoms.

It has transpired that some service providers have wrongfully been charging additional contributions towards expenses in cases where the federal government covers the cost of a corona test. This is not allowed; you are not required to pay any additional costs.

What are rapid antigen tests and when do they make sense?

Rapid antigen tests can also be conducted outside of licensed laboratories. The result is available within 15 to 20 minutes. However, the result is less reliable than that of a PCR test. According to the federal government's vaccination strategy, given the fact that PCR testing capacity is limited, it still makes sense to use rapid antigen tests, especially in the following cases:

  • Your symptoms started less than 4 days ago.
  • You are not in the group of people who are particularly at risk.
  • You don't work in healthcare with direct patient contact.
  • You are being treated on an outpatient basis.

In addition, a rapid antigen test can be considered if you don't have symptoms but are notified by the SwissCovid app that you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Also, if your doctor or the cantonal authority orders a rapid test because you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Or if a rapid test is required as part of protective measures (e.g., at sporting events, concerts, etc.) or at the recommendation of your employer.

A positive rapid test must always be confirmed by a PCR test.

Can I also test myself?

Yes. Antigen self-tests have been available from pharmacies since 7 April 2021. You can obtain 5 tests free of charge every 30 days by presenting your health insurance card. The pharmacy will bill the tests you obtain directly to your health insurer.

The tests can also be ordered easily online from the mail-order pharmacy Zur Rose.

How does the antigen self-test work?

You can test yourself for coronavirus using an antigen self-test. You obtain the sample yourself by doing a nose swab and then read the result. The test result is available within 15 to 20 minutes. Follow the instructions on carrying out a self-test that are enclosed with each kit or watch the instruction video.

Caution: Self-tests provide a less reliable result than PCR tests or rapid antigen tests. It is therefore possible that even if the test is negative, you may be infected with coronavirus and be able to pass it on to others. This is why self-tests are no substitute for the hygiene and social distancing rules and any precautionary measures that are in place.

Cost coverage

I have caught COVID-19. Will CSS pay for my treatment?

If you catch the coronavirus, CSS will pay for your treatment as usual through your basic and supplementary insurance. The co-payment, retention fee and applicable terms and conditions of insurance will be taken into account.

Who pays the cost of the corona vaccination?

The corona vaccination is free for all insured persons; there is no deductible or retention fee. Part of the cost is covered by mandatory health insurance. The rest is paid by the federal government and the cantons.

Does CSS pay for face masks, sanitisers and other preventive products?

No, as these are not benefits that are covered by basic insurance.

About the virus

How is the virus transmitted?

The virus is transmitted via droplets and aerosols that enter the mucous membranes (in the mouth, nose or eyes) of other people in the immediate vicinity (<1.5 metres away). The most common way people catch the disease is through close, prolonged contact (>15 minutes) with someone who is infected, especially if there is no form of protection (e.g., a hygiene mask).

The coronavirus is also spread via contact with contaminated surfaces. A person can become infected if they then touch their face and the infectious droplets from the surface enter their mucous membranes.

How can I protect myself?

The best way to protect yourself and others from infection is to follow the hygiene and social distancing rules. This includes regularly washing your hands thoroughly with soap, keeping your distance and wearing a mask.

The FOPH website «Coronavirus: Protect yourself and others» provides a detailed overview of all the hygiene and social distancing rules.

Can the virus be transmitted by people with no symptoms?

Yes, people who have contracted the virus can infect others before developing symptoms or even if they have no symptoms at all.

Who is in the at-risk group?

Those at risk of becoming seriously ill include everyone over the age of 65, pregnant women, smokers and people with the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lung disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cancer
  • A weakened immune system due to illness or medication
  • Class 3 obesity

Disclaimer

The information above is supplied by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). It is purely for information purposes and is no substitute for medical advice. If experiencing health problems, you should contact your doctor or a medical professional.

 

Exclusion of liability

The information presented here on the products and benefits of the CSS Group is designed to provide a general overview and is in no way complete. Actual details can be found in the statutory provisions of the Federal Health Insurance Act (KVG), the Federal Insurance Contract Act (VVG), the General Insurance Conditions (AVB), and the Supplementary Conditions (ZB), which determine the obligation of the CSS Group to provide benefits. The information is provided «as is» without any warranty and is subject to change at any time.

 

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