GGD’s overloaded, ‘an awful lot of people without complaints get tested’

In several parts of the country, the Municipal Health Service can no longer keep its promise to test within 48 hours because there is too little testing capacity in the Netherlands. That was the case this morning at 67 of the 105 test sites in the Netherlands.

According to the Municipal Health Service (GGD), there are “an awful lot” of people without complaints who have had themselves tested, which means that many locations are now well above capacity. For example, many people returning from ‘orange areas’ would have themselves tested, even though they have no complaints. “Or people who want to go to a wedding or go on holiday soon. People come with all kinds of reasons to get tested anyway,” says GGD director Sjaak de Gouw in News and Co on NPO Radio 1.

Still working with complaints’

“Reasons that may be understandable from an individual’s point of view, but it does mean that the waiting time for people in care and education and other vital professions is getting longer and longer,” says De Gouw. According to him, the danger is that people with complaints will decide to go to work anyway.

“What we are also seeing is that departments of nursing homes are closing down, children are being sent home because the teacher is sick for four days and that is something we want to prevent. We really want those people back to work within one or two days if they test negative”

Teacher Annemiek Helfensteijn’s class has been sent home for a week, because she has to wait for a coronavirus test, she says via Skype:

The GGD director expects that if people without complaints don’t get tested, there will hardly be any problems anymore. In addition, more testing capacity will soon be added. “Minister De Jonge has announced that he has purchased extra capacity. A small part of that will become available next week and that’s becoming more and more, but that’s not a solution at the moment”, says De Gouw.

Rapid business testing

MKB-Nederland says it wants to help expand the testing capacity and also wants to focus on rapid tests for businesses. The interest group also wants the government to take a quick decision on compensation for employers in order to compensate them for the continued payment of wages during the preventive home quarantine of employees.