GGD testing capacities strained, people advised to book appointments via phone
A growing number of GGD coronavirus test centers in the Netherlands have become busy to a point that coronavirus tests cannot be booked within a reasonable amount of time, Parool reported on Thursday. D66 MP Jan Paternotte said he was concerned about how this skews the big picture about the rapidly increasing number of infections in the country.
Test sites in Amsterdam seem to be fully booked and people without cars are redirected 50 kilometers south to Zoetermeer. Moreover, in Schagen and Den Helder, there appear to be no slots available for testing. In other places in the Netherlands, dozens of people also took to social media to share they have experienced troubles booking a Covid-19 test.
People's experiences "make it clear that GGD test streets throughout the Netherlands are full and many people cannot get a test. Means we may not have a complete picture of infections tomorrow," Paternotte wrote. He said it was important that the Outbreak Management Team quickly provide guidance about the situation. Their urgent advice was requested by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, and could lead to new coronavirus restrictions less than two weeks after the Netherlands relaxed most of its measures.
A GGD spokesperson told Parool that the public health service will scale up quickly, possibly as early as Thursday evening, to meet the increasing demand. "We are working with people who have a zero-hours contract. So if there is more need among Dutch people to be tested, we scale up, and when fewer people want to be tested, we scale down," they explained
The situation has resulted in people in Noord-Holland being unable to book appointments online because available time slots cannot be found. The GGD recommended people schedule appointments by phone instead.
"It is not possible to make an appointment online, we are going to solve that, but if people call, it should be possible to make an appointment quickly again," a spokesperson for GGD said.
The full test sites are because of the combination of a growing number of coronavirus infections, and an increase in people trying to get tested before their vacation.