The problems with the processing of the PCR tests have still not been completely resolved in Salzburg. Again and again people have to wait longer than 24 hours for their test result. The contracts with the laboratories commissioned definitely provide for provisions on service disruptions and liability – such as warranties, contractual penalties or penalties for default. Legal steps against the commissioned companies are currently not an issue.
“Salzburg gurgelt” started on October 27th. The contractor is the Novogenia biotech laboratory based in Eugendorf. The starting difficulties were considerable. Initially, the test kits were often out of stock – apparently also because many people had been hoarding them at home. Then there were problems with the adhesive for the test tubes – and a series of suspected hacker attacks that paralyzed the login page for hours. Most recently, the high proportion of positive samples meant that the pooling process no longer actually worked. This further delayed the evaluation of the tests. Overload and bottlenecks Also in a second laboratory commissioned by the state, there were overload and bottlenecks due to the high number of tests ordered by the authorities: At Medilab, the additional PCR tests carried out on the test lanes of the Red Cross were no longer possible be evaluated. Another provider had to step in. There were also big problems with the PCR tests in the pharmacies – these tests are not commissioned by the state, however. How much does the taxpayer cost the test series? How much tax money the State of Salzburg last spent each week on the tests was also up not to experience multiple demand. The federal government ultimately pays anyway: the federal states can bill the costs they incur based on the Epidemic Act and the Covid 19 Special Purpose Grant Act. It is known that the Novogenia order was initially for 100,000 tests per week and the cost per test was estimated at 5.50 euros. When asked whether the country could keep the laboratories harmless, a spokesman initially referred to the question the Bundesbeschaffungs GmbH (BBG), which defines the framework agreement for the “SARS-Cov-2 (Covid-19) tests” in Austria and takes on the tender and award. When it came to questions of liability and warranty, however, the BBG played the ball back to the country: Any enforcement was incumbent on the respective public client it in an opinion. These have been exacerbated by a temporary “market imbalance” on the supplier side. “The current – hardly concretely foreseeable – demand due to the massive increase in the number of cases cannot be met on the supply side.” That is why Salzburg and other affected countries are supported in finding a solution. “This is currently absolutely in the foreground.” By the way: Even if the state currently excludes legal action – claims can at least according to the framework agreement also be asserted after a possible improvement period has expired, but at least within two years after completion of the service.