1,000 new Covid-19 cases uncovered; 50,000 studied in 1st week of mass testing
A week after the Netherlands opened coronavirus testing to everyone with symptoms, health service GGD made a total of 59,090 appointments for coronavirus tests and tested 49,228 people. About a thousand, or 2 percent, of the tests came back positive for the virus. The remaining 10 thousand tests will be completed on Monday, Sjaak de Gouw of umbrella organization GGD GHOR said on talk show Op1 on Sunday.
Public health institute RIVM updates the official statistics on coronavirus testing, hospitalizations, and fatalities daily at around 2:00 p.m. The RIVM confirmed to NL Times that the additional GGD data will be reported on a rolling basis depending on when the agency receives updates from the 49 laboratories which carry out the tests.
When coronavirus tests were only available for people being treated or working in healthcare, about 17 percent of tests came back positive, De Gouw said on the talk show. "Then we also tested the teachers and contact professions, after which that percentage dropped to 5 percent," he said. "We had already assumed that the number of positive tests - now that testing options have been further expanded - would be below 5 percent."
The GGD opened its national hotline for making an appointment to be tested, 0800 1202, on June 1. Over the first few days there was a "tidal wave" of calls, De Gouw said. The number of unique callers in the first week was around 90 thousand. Some people had to call multiple times because they couldn't get through the first time.
According to De Gouw, there were also people who called the hotline for other reasons than making an appointment to get tested. "People without symptoms, people who wanted to go abroad or people who had family visit," he said. "Even Sunday, 40 percent of people called with something other than a test request.
The GGD based its estimates on how many tests will have to be done on figures from public health institute RIVM on the number of people with a respiratory infection - which presents with the same symptoms as Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, De Gouw said.
Test capacity was evenly distributed across the country, but the GGD made relatively more appointments for coronavirus tests in Noord-Brabant and Limburg. "We do see differences in the country. But we don't know if that's because there are more respiratory infections in that area or more worried people." Noord-Brabant was the province hit hardest by the first wave of coronavirus infections, so it makes sense that people in the province are more alert to the symptoms.