Hundreds mistakenly receive Covid negative results
A hospital in Sydney, Australia has blamed possible human error for informing more than 400 patients they tested negative for Covid just before Christmas. In fact, PCR tests show the people were infected with the virus.
Patients who were swabbed at the SydPath pathology centers of St Vincent’s Hospital on December 22 and 23 received text messages with incorrect results from the laboratory, the hospital in New South Wales (NSW) revealed on Sunday. More than 400 people were reassured they had not been infected with the highly contagious disease, when in fact they tested positive.
Hospital officials said a special emergency response team was arranged. The people impacted are being contacted, while the cause of the mistake is being investigated. It is so far “believed to be human error,” according to a statement from the medical facility.
One of the patients who received an incorrect negative result on Christmas Day, said he felt unwell and believed “the PCR test must be wrong,” but was reassured by his doctor to trust the test, not himself. The man began feeling worse, he told ABC, and took himself to the hospital. A rapid antigen test showed the patient was Covid-positive, and he was hospitalized.
The laboratory’s medical director, Professor Anthony Dodds, blamed the mishap on “the very large volume of tests” being carried out. Services testing for Covid in NSW have been overwhelmed with high demand, local media reports, as around 145,000 swabs a day are being taken. People are also reportedly being turned away from testing sites due to full capacity.
The state has hit new record highs for coronavirus infections this week. The day after Christmas, around 7,000 cases have been registered, up from around 5,600 on Friday.