Ten Amsterdam COVID clusters quashed by GGD
So far health service GGD Amsterdam-Amstelland managed to snuff out at least 10 coronavirus clusters in the Amsterdam region through source and contact tracing, Anja Schreijer, head of the general infectious diseases department of the local GGD, said to Het Parool.
Source and contact tracing is hard work for GGD workers throughout the country. Once a person tests positive for Covid-19, a "GGD investigator" contacts them to find out who their close contacts were - who did they have contact with for more than 15 minutes at a closer range than 1.5 meters in the two days before and after they started showing symptoms. Each of those contacts are then called three times - on the day of diagnosis, 7 days later and 14 days later - and told that they are at risk, urged to self-quarantine, and instructed to get tested if they start showing symptoms. That takes about eight hours per new Covid-19 diagnosis.
And it is bearing fruit. While coronavirus infections throughout the Netherlands is increasing again, the numbers are rising more slowly than they would have without increased testing and source and contact tracing, Schreijer said to the newspaper. In Amsterdam, over ten clusters have already been quashed. And about a quarter of all new infections are people who were identified through source and contact tracing.
The approach does have limitations however. Because potentially infected people aren't forced to self-quarantine. A recent survey by public health institute RIVM showed that 60 percent of people with symptoms still visit family or friends, and almost half still go to work. And only 19 percent of people with symptoms actually get tested. "If that doesn't change, it is almost impossible for the GGDs to stop virus transmission," Schreijer said.