In addition to its operational activities, Rega supported the Swiss authorities in dealing with the corona pandemic.
Rega can look back on an intensive year of operations: in 2020, the Rega Operations Center organized 16,273 missions at home and abroad, a three-per-cent fall on 2019. The number of patients treated remained almost unchanged (11,134, -0.3 per cent). On average, the Rega crews helped 31 patients a day. The disparity between the number of patient and missions is due to the variety of missions undertaken by Rega crews – for example, several patients may be onboard during patient transport missions, while search flights take place without patient transport.
Operations center organized more helicopter missions than ever before
More in demand than the previous year were the helicopter crews, who set off on their missions around the clock from 12 bases across Switzerland. With 13,253 missions recorded (+8.1 per cent), the helicopter operations center organized more missions than ever before. Both the rescue operations at the scene of the incident (7,774, +5.6 per cent) and the number of transfer flights from hospital to hospital (2,614, +9.8 per cent) increased. In principle, the rescue helicopter’s operations are subject to natural fluctuations. The figures from 2020 reflect, among other things, the good weather conditions in summer and autumn, as well as the leisure behavior of the Swiss population.
Decline in repatriations
In 2020, as international travel almost completely came to a standstill due to the corona pandemic, Rega repatriated significantly fewer patients from abroad than in the previous year: of the 758 patients (-43.6 per cent), 647 were onboard a Rega jet (-33.4 per cent) and 111 on a scheduled aircraft (-70.2 per cent). Although the Rega jets flew fewer missions, they were in the air longer overall than in the previous year due to the longer-haul missions they were tasked to undertake.
Transport of 456 Covid-19 patients and support of the authorities
On 11 March 2020, the first confirmed Covid 19 patient was transported onboard a Rega helicopter in Ticino. By the end of 2020, Rega had transported a total of 456 Covid-19 infected patients onboard its aircraft: 316 of them in the rescue helicopter, and 140 on board an ambulance jet. Rega also takes on additional tasks during the pandemic: it supports the Confederation, the cantons and the Swiss population in various ways; among other things, the Rega Operations Center, at the request of the federal government, has been responsible for co-ordinating the utilization of intensive care units as a ‘national co-ordination point’ and thus supports the Swiss hospitals.