GGD hits coronavirus testing limit with tens of thousands scheduling tests
The health service responsible for the majority of PCR coronavirus testing in the Netherlands cautioned the public that it has essentially reached the limit for the number of tests it can perform. The service said it wants to get to a point where 120,000 tests can be carried out daily if more workers become available to make that happen.
“Thousands of employees work hard every day to plan and execute all test requests, but they are being stretched thin. We are reaching the maximum of our capacity on all sides," said Jaap Eikelboom, the Covid-19 program director at GGD GHOR Nederland. The organization said it has been difficult to meet the "explosive demand" for test appointments.
Over 110,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 during the past seven days, far exceeding any previous records set in the Netherlands. During the last calendar week, the GGD conducted nearly 560,000 tests. That figure doubled in three weeks.
As a result, many people have had to wait for longer periods of time to reach someone from the GGD over the phone to schedule an appointment, even though the organization's call center employs about 4,000 people and anyone with a DigiD can generally schedule a test online.
“We understand the frustration when people have to wait a long time until they have a GGD employee on the phone, but we ask for some understanding and patience. Every employee is fully committed to fighting this pandemic, but this week's numbers are unprecedented," said Eikelboom
He said staffers can be asked to take on overtime, within reasonable limits. While the GGD wants to hire more people, the competition on the labor market has made this difficult.The current record for most tests conducted in a single day is over 91,000, set on Monday, the GGD said. The old record of 89,000 was set in March.