It seems that coronavirus is spreading faster than the GGDs and contact tracing labs can handle. At the moment, GGDs only have the capacity for 28,000 corona tests per day.
The reason for this is not due to a lack of testing facilities, but a lack of lab equipment. The GGDs have had to halt testing once laboratory materials run out. “A number of GGDs have recently been able to run at 70 percent. For example, they were only open until 1:00 pm because after that the materials at the labs ran out,” said GGD director, Sjaak de Gouw in an address to the Lower House yesterday.
This means that for the moment, tens of thousands of people cannot be tested. In order to accommodate the rising number of people who want a test, the GGDs have already closed down the Schiphol testing lane and introduced “priority testing” for people such as healthcare workers and teachers.
Contact tracing limited
However, GGDs are also struggling to facilitate the needs of contact tracing. The new surge in coronavirus cases is moving faster than contact tracing facilities can train new employees. “The end is not yet in sight and the virus is scaling up faster than the fastest scaling plan.”
Due to this, GGDs have turned to a ‘risk-based’ approach of contact tracing. This means that for the time being, they will only help those who may have infected numerous people due to, for example, their work situation.
Those who are not considered to have possibly infected many people are asked to carry out contact tracing themselves and inform those who they may have infected through contact.
Up to speed by October
Edwin Boel of the National Coordination Structure Testing Capacity (LCDK) also told the House that new test materials should be available to testing labs by October. This way, it is expected that the GGD will be able to carry out 50,000 corona tests per day.
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