Dutch for-profit coronavirus testing may be skewing official results
Over a third of all coronavirus tests done in the Netherlands are not done by health service GGD, but by commercial parties, according to research by EenVandaag. The Red Team, a team of experts in various fields that gives the government advice on the Covid-19 pandemic, worries that this may be skewing the official results.
EenVandaag spoke to 137 commercial Covid-19 test locations. In the week from October 26 to November 1, they performed 40 thousand PCR tests and 30 thousand rapid tests. There are also healthcare providers and companies that do their own tests. Importers of these tests told EenVandaag that they provide over 100 thousand tests per week. That means that around 170 thousand tests were not done by the GGD that week - over a third of the total number of tests, according to the program.
Commercial parties are obliged to report positive Covid-19 tests to the GGD, but as this is not centrally regulated, it is often difficult and not all test results reach the health authorities. Bert Slagter of The Red Team worries that this is distorting the picture of the coronavirus contamination in the Netherlands.
"As a result, you may underestimate how many people are infected with the virus, making it unclear where you are on the road map," Slagter said to EenVandaag. This makes it difficult to measure the effects of the coronavirus measures. If test results are not reported to the health authorities, they are not included in the figures. Which means that a decrease in positive tests attributed to the measures, may in fact be because people are getting tested outside the GGD.