‚Get Tested!‘: People are having trouble getting a Covid-19 test

Corona test location at Europaweg 8 in Groningen

With the rise of the infections, the government is urging people to get tested for Covid-19 but contacting the GGD, the municipal health service, is easier said than done.

The government is asking people who experience symptoms to stay at home and get tested as soon as possible. The GGD is divided into 25 regions and is responsible for all corona testing in the Netherlands. To get tested, people have to call the GGD at their Covid-19 number 0800-1202 for an appointment or book it online with their DigiD, an identity management platform where people can complete bureaucracy tasks online.

Because infections are increasing, the GGD is finding itself at maximum test capacity. In conversation with NU.nl, a spokesman of the umbrella organization of all municipal health services, said that it is certainly not impossible to schedule a corona test these days. But for many people, this is not true.       

Anna Lokhorst decided to get tested after having a throat ache and cough. „I tried to call three times. Two times I was informed to call later as there were too many people waiting and once I waited over 30 minutes and then hung up because I had a lecture. Because of this, I decided to check everyday if a place came up free for tests but no test was available in a 100 km range.“ Anna doesn’t have a car and was in the end not able to get a corona test. „I quarantined to be sure until all my symptoms disappeared a week later,“ she added. 

Nina Valentini had a similar experience. The GGD told her that no testing places were available within the next 72 hours and that she should try to call again the next day. „I was able to book a test via the online platform with my DigiD a couple hours after the call with them“, Nina says. Via the online platform, she was interestingly enough able to get an appointment within the next 72 hours.

Whereas Anna and Nina were able to reach the GGD, The Lens had problems contacting the 0800 GGD number with a mobile phone. Instead of the typical dial tone all The Lens could hear was a static noise. 0800 numbers are service numbers that are free of charge for customers calling from landlines. The owner of the number is paying for the fees but when it comes to mobile phones, there can be extra costs, which means that the owners sometimes block mobile phones.

The Lens contacted the GGD and in a response they stated to pass on the problem, but that they didn’t know whether the static noise is a well-known problem or not.

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