Covid breath tests halted for the time being
Municipal health agency GGD will temporarily stop using the coronavirus breathalyzer. That was decided after a number of incorrect test results were given at the GGD Amsterdam. A setback, as it was the intention that this method of testing would be rolled out nationwide.
Not a cotton swab deep in your nose, but a device that you have to blow into. For many people, especially children, the breathalyzer is a more pleasant alternative for coronavirus testing.
After a trial period, the breath test has been officially used since January 29 at two test locations in Amsterdam: the Buikslotermeerplein and the RAI. This happened after the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) supported the use of the breathalyzer.
At the time, Public Health Minister Hugo de Jonge indicated that the breathalyzer tests would be introduced nationally. In every GGD region (in total there are 25 regions), it would have soon been possible to test in this way.
However, on Saturday, the GGD in Amsterdam received bad news. After questions from RTL News, a spokesperson announced that these breath tests would be stopped for the time being.
Wrong test result
The reason was that "last week, it turned out that a few people after a negative breath test shortly afterward with a PCR test (the standard test) still got a positive result," says a spokesman for the GGD Amsterdam. "No test is 100 percent reliable, but because this is a new test, we are on the side of caution and have decided to hold the test temporarily."
According to the GGD, analysis shows that the incorrect test results are probably caused by incorrect usage of the machine. More attention needs to be paid to this. After consultation with experts, an extra test phase will likely follow to check the points for improvement.
Until then, preparations for introducing the breathalyzer test at other GGD locations will also be halted. These are the Amsterdam test locations Zuidoost, Noord, Sloterdijk, and the GGD test location in Venray.