Friesland gives all healthcare workers easy Covid test access
Healthcare workers in Friesland will get priority to get tested for the coronavirus, the healthcare institutions in the province agreed with health service GGD Friesland in order to "prevent healthcare from getting under pressure", NOS reports.
The decision was made before Hugo de Jonge, the Public Health Minister, wrote to Parliament on Friday stating that healthcare workers would get priority access to testing nationality, but only under certain conditions. Specifically, if they already have symptoms consistent with Covid-19, they are essential for direct contact with patients and continuity of care, and their employer is a government recognized healthcare provider. In some circumstances, freelancers and temporary workers might also be eligible.
In Friesland, hospital employees and employees at some healthcare institutions already had their own testing facility. As of Wednesday, the other healthcare workers could register for a test at GGD Friesland through their healthcare institution. The local GGD reserved testing appointments for healthcare workers at existing test locations in Leeuwardden, Drachten and IJlst. The GGD is also looking into whether temporary test locations can be opened in the province.
GGD Friesland called this step very important. "The quick test makes it clearer whether healthcare workers are carrying the virus and whether they can continue to work. Due to the waiting times that exist for testing, healthcare threatens to get into trouble," the health service said in a press release.
Sonja Kloppenburg of the national GGD told NOS that Friesland is not unique in wanting to give healthcare workers priority. "There are several GGDs that reserve capacity for employees of care institutions on their own initiative on a limited scale, as an extra service for care workers. That is not official. GGD Friesland is ahead of the pack by making it so official."
The GGD testing locations throughout the country are struggling under the massive demand for tests. On Thursday morning, only four of the around 100 testing locations had a sufficient number of appointments available. Ten had a few spots open, but not many.