Contact tracing for COVID-19 in a Swiss canton: analysis of key performance indicators.

Heron, Leonie; Mugglin, Catrina; Zürcher, Kathrin; Brumann, Erich; Keune-Dübi, Bettina; Low, Nicola; Fenner, Lukas (2023). Contact tracing for COVID-19 in a Swiss canton: analysis of key performance indicators. Swiss medical weekly, 153, p. 40112. EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag 10.57187/smw.2023.40112

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Contact tracing (CT) has played an important role in strategies to control COVID-19. However, there is limited evidence on the performance of digital tools for CT and no consensus on which indicators to use to monitor their performance. We aimed to describe the system and analyse outcomes of CT with a partially automated workflow in the Swiss canton of Solothurn, using key performance indicators (KPIs).


We describe the process of CT used in the canton of Solothurn between November 2020 and February 2022, including forward and backward CT. We developed 16 KPIs representing CT structure (S1-2), process (P1-11) and outcome (O1-3) based on previous literature to analyse the relative performance of CT. We report the changes in the indicators over waves of SARS-CoV-2 infections caused by several viral variants.


The CT team in Solothurn processed 57,363 index cases and 71,809 contacts over a 15-month period. The CT team successfully contacted 99% of positive cases within 24 hours (KPI P7) throughout the pandemic and returned almost all test results on the same or next day (KPI P6), before the delta variant emerged. Three-quarters of contacts were notified within 24 hours of the CT interview with the index (KPI P8) before the emergence of the alpha, delta and omicron variants, when the proportions decreased to 64%, 36% and 54%, respectively. The percentage of new symptomatic cases tested and interviewed within 3 days of symptom onset was high at >70% (KPI P10) and contacts started quarantine within a median of 3 days of index case symptom onset (KPI P3). About a fifth of new index cases had already been in quarantine by the time of their positive test (KPI O1), before the delta variant emerged. The percentage of index cases in isolation by day of testing remained at almost 100% throughout the period of analysis (KPI O2).


The CT in Solothurn used a partially automated workflow and continued to perform well throughout the pandemic, although the relative performance of the CT system declined at higher caseloads. CT remains an important tool for controlling the spread of infectious diseases, but clearer standards should improve the performance, comparability and monitoring of infection in real time as part of pandemic preparedness efforts.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Heron, Leonie, Mugglin, Catrina Andrea, Zürcher, Kathrin, Low, Nicola, Fenner, Lukas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




EMH Schweizerischer Ärzteverlag


[211] NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ; [4] Swiss National Science Foundation ; [222] Horizon 2020




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

20 Nov 2023 09:45

Last Modified:

23 Nov 2023 19:40

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