The Netherlands cannot currently expand its coronavirus testing facilities because of a laboratory backlog. The backlog should be fixed within a week, luckily.
The GGD was planning to expand its opening times and to open new testing locations this week, as the number of people wanting to get tested for coronavirus has been increasing rapidly– by 40% just last week. Last week there were 140,432 coronavirus tests taken in the Netherlands.
However, the Ministry of Health has asked the GGDs to put a pause on expanding testing until the backlog in the laboratories is fixed. That’s going to be problematic, even in the short term. In Amsterdam, for example, almost all testing facilities are already full for today and Friday, NOS reports. Expanding test capacity soon is crucial, if everyone who needs a test is to be offered one.
Another part of the problem is that the GGDs are increasingly seeing people without complaints asking to be tested. “The number of test requests is now increasing so much, even from people who have no complaints, that the current capacity is under pressure. That is why we now say again: only get tested in case of complaints,” says a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.
The hope is to have the laboratory backlog problem fixed by this weekend, or at least next week. Then the GGDs will be able to expand their opening hours and test locations. The expansion will be particularly important over the coming winter months, when the number of people with respiratory complaints is expected to increase.
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