Covid testing to expand to 80,000 per day by end December; No test center at Schiphol
Health service GGD plans to scale up its coronavirus testing capacity significantly in the coming months, aiming for 80 thousand tests per day by the end of this year. The service also doesn't think a testing center at Schiphol, for testing people arriving from Covid-19 hotspots, is worth it.
At the start of this week, the GGDs tested 42,800 people for the coroanvirus per day. The health service plans to expand this to 60 thousand by the end of next month, and 80 thousand by the end of December, umbrella organization GGD GHOR said in its Roadmap for Testing and Tracing, according to NOS.
The health service plans to reach this target by expanding existing test centers, adding new locations, and using mobile test units where necessary. The GGD is also in talks with market parties about teaming up for "XL test locations", where 2,500 to 5 thousand samples can be taken by day.
Market parties were asked to contribute to XL locations in the form of personnel, a location, or project management. In many cases they said they were willing, the GGD said, adding that the first XL facilities should open by end November.
The GGDs will also further expand their capacity for source and contact tracing. Currently the health services are able to do up to 2 thousand such traces per day, much less than the current infection level of over 6 thousand positive tests per day. GGD GHOR thinks this can be expanded to around 10 thousand limited source and contact traces per day by end December.
In a document sent to parliament, the GGDs also explained that they don't consider a Covid-19 testing station at Schiphol to be worth it. According to the health service, the "find rate" - the percentage positive tests - at Schiphol was about half as low as the find rate in other test centers. This can be explained by travelers not having to show symptoms to be tested. It can also be that the traveler picked up the coronavirus too recently for the PCR test to detect it.
"With a find rate that is almost half lower than in the other test centers in the Netherlands, it can be concluded that the testing of travelers at Schiphol is less efficient in detecting positive people than testing people with symptoms," the health service said. That capacity can better be used elsewhere.