The GGD can no longer handle the influx of people who want to be tested for the corona virus. On Monday, 116,000 test appointments were made, a daily record and much more than the maximum capacity of some 90,000 tests per day. The GGD wants to further expand the test capacity to 125,000 tests per day in the coming weeks, but it is highly questionable whether this will succeed, the umbrella organization GGD GHOR reports: “We are reaching the maximum of our capacity on all sides,” says Jaap Eikelboom. , program director Covid-19.
Too small a test capacity has major consequences for the fight against the virus. Testing is seen as one of the most important weapons in the fight against the virus. People who turn out to be infected can isolate themselves and the GGD tries to trace possible infected contacts in order to break the chain of infection.
Testing is also the only way people can be sure whether they have a common cold or the coronavirus. The GGD is already calling on people for whom it is “not immediately possible” to make an appointment to stay at home as long as the complaints persist. In addition, testing is also important to see where infections occur and in which (age) groups, so that action can be taken if necessary. Otherwise, generic measures will soon be necessary, such as the closure of sectors.
The GGD prepared this autumn to be able to perform 40,000 tests per day and to scale up to a maximum of 90,000 tests per day in the event of new outbreaks of the coronavirus within five weeks. Last week, statistics from the RIVM showed on Tuesday, an average of about 80,000 tests were performed per day.
Whether it can be scaled up even further depends on how many personnel can be found. “We have been working hard for weeks to hire more people, but we can hardly recruit against this explosive growth,” says Eikelboom.
The GGD is also looking for staff for source and contact research and for the vaccination campaign for the third shot, which will start at the end of this week. In addition, there are large commercial test streets that, among other things, conduct tests for the corona admission ticket.
The high test demand led to long waiting times at the test streets and telephone lines. Last week, the waiting time between scheduling an appointment and actually taking it was 15.5 hours. After that, an average of 20 hours had to be waited for a result, wrote outgoing minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health, CDA) to the House of Representatives last week. The number of test requests “peaks” especially in the morning hours.