Covid testing capacity expanded to 51,000 tests per day; Health services not ready
Laboratory capacity in the Netherlands has been expanded. The labs now have sufficient test materials to perform over 51 thousand Covid-19 tests per day, an increase of 20 thousand tests per day compared to last week. Waiting times will still be around for a time yet however, as health service GGD needs to hire more employees to do more tests, NOS reports.
"Our expectation is that we will be scaled up sufficiently in the course of next week. The aim is as quickly as possible, but it is a mega operation," a spokesperson for GGD GHOR Nederland, the umbrella organization for the GGD health services, said to NOS.
The GGD has three options for scaling up - expand the opening hours of test centers, do more tests at the same time in the test centers that have space for it, and open new test centers. All three options require additional staff and logistics.
GGD GHOR stressed that the GGDs were ordered by the Ministry of Public Health to stop scaling up testing capacity on August 24, because the labs had insufficient test materials to process all the tests. It was only just announced that extra lab capacity is now available, the spokesperson said, prompting the GGDs to start scaling up again. "If we had known this earlier, we would have been ready now."
Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health and Edwin Boel of LCDK, the organization responsible for coordinating testing capacity in the Netherlands, told the media and parliament several times that testing capacity would be expanded to 50 thousand tests per day this week. The Ministry of Public Health said this would happen by this past Monday.