Hundreds mistakenly told positive Covid tests were negative in Australia

Mix-up believed to be result of increased pressures due to large volume of tests

Emily Atkinson
Sunday 26 December 2021 15:43
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<p> medical worker takes a swab from a man at a drive-through Covid-19 test centre in western Sydney on December 21, 2021. </p>

medical worker takes a swab from a man at a drive-through Covid-19 test centre in western Sydney on December 21, 2021.

A testing laboratory in Australia incorrectly sent 400 people negative Covid test results on Christmas Day, despite the fact they had actually tested positive.

St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, sent the false results out on the evening of the 25 December via text message. They were corrected the following morning.

An investigation into the mistake has since been set up by an emergency response team, the laboratory’s medical director said. The mix-up is believed to be the result of increased pressures to process a large volume of tests.

Almost 10,000 coronavirus cases were recorded across Australia on Saturday amid a record breaking surge in positive tests in the country.

The majority of cases have been found in New South Wales, where the St Vincent’s Hospital is located.

According to officials, these cases are thought to be the new omicron variant - although a shortfall of genomic sequencing in New South Wales means these suspicions cannot yet be confirmed.

“We would expect that pretty well everybody in New South Wales at some point will get Omicron,” said the New South Wales health minister, Brad Hazzard.

“If we’re all going to get Omicron, the best way to face it is when we have full vaccinations including our booster.”

Most recent figures show that, as of 22 December, over 90 per cent of over-16s in Australia had received two doses of the coronavirus vaccination vaccine.

New South Wales also had the highest vaccination rate compared to the other five Australian states.

Australia has recently taken the decision to reduce the waiting time between the second dose and the booster jab to three months from 31 January to encourage take-up.

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