Gov't missed warning about faltering source and contact tracing, Minister acknowledges
The Ministry of Public Health missed a warning from the GGD in Rotterdam, saying that the increasing number of coronavirus infections was putting severe strain on the health service's ability to perform source and contact tracing, Minister Hugo de Jonge acknowledged on Friday. But the warning could also have been more explicit, he said to NOS.
At the end of July, the GGD sent a memo to the Ministry saying that its ability to track down the source of a coronavirus infection, and contact everyone the new patient had close contact with, was being pressured by the rapidly rising number of infections, NRC reported. Nothing was done with that information.
Last week Friday, the GGD health services in Amsterdam and Rotterdam had to scale down this tracing because their employees simply couldn't cope. The day before, De Jonge still told parliament that there was enough capacity.
"The signal from the memo was not picked up at the time," De Jonge said to NOS on Friday. According to him, this was because the warning was hidden in a memo about something else - the rising number of infections and steps to take against it. "And yes, there was also a passage that referred to the need to adjust the source and contact investigation."
De Jonge said that he wished he'd noticed that passage."Then there would have been a chance to come to the rescue sooner," he said. But he also thinks the GGD Rotterdam could have given warning "through the front door" to the national GGD or the Ministry directly.