Dutch hospitals facing shortages of Covid-19 rapid tests
Hospitals throughout the Netherlands are facing a shortage of Covid-19 rapid tests, that can quickly and reliably tell whether someone has the coronavirus. This is due to "global scarcity", a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health's Testing Service said to the Volkskrant.
Hospitals use rapid tests to check whether regular patients are infected with the coronavirus. The shortage is resulting in patients being kept in isolation for an unnecessarily long time. It is also leading to a waste in personal protective equipment, as healthcare staff have to treat patients in protective gear until they are confirmed not to have the virus.
The shortage involves rapid tests that are comparable to the standard PCR tests. These are the same rapid tests used by health service GGD. Due to the "global scarcity", hospitals are now back to doing PCR tests on patients, which could mean days waiting for results.
Commercial antigen tests are more readily available, but not reliable enough to be used in healthcare.