Almost 1000 people who were told they tested negative for Covid-19 in NSW were potentially sent the wrong result.
SydPath, at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, said on Monday afternoon that 995 people “tested on 23 and 24 December, were prematurely sent an SMS advising them their test was negative when in fact their true result had not yet been determined”.
The pathology unit said it has now contacted all of the patients involved. It comes after St Vincent’s Hospital wrongly told 400 Covid-positive people they had tested negative for the virus on Christmas day.
The 995 new cases were discovered during an investigation of the initial error, SydPath said.
“Once again, we are sincerely sorry for this error and acknowledge the significant impact it has had on those involved,” the hospital said.
“We have identified what occurred and can confirm it was related to a specific human error. SydPath have put procedures in place to ensure this cannot happen again.
“This event comes at a time of unprecedented Covid-testing activity and SydPath’s people, as with all pathology teams throughout NSW, are working around the clock to respond.”
Testing facilities in NSW have been under pressure throughout the period leading up to NSW and New Year's.
Much of it has been blamed on travellers trying to get into Queensland. Queensland requires travellers from hotspots, such as NSW, receive a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival.
"Tourism tests are putting substantial pressure on the system," Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Sunday.
"That's just not long queues, it's slowing down the turnaround time for NSW Health to be able to process those tests and get that information back to people who may be unwell or have Covid."
Mr Perrottet said he didn't believe in lining up for a PCR test when people weren't provided much of a public health benefit.
"Ultimately they need to keep their people safe. We just don't believe that the requirement of a PCR test for somebody who is not unwell is actually supportive of that view," he said.
Health authorities are encouraging people to only get tested if they have symptoms of Covid-19.
Test numbers have gone down from more than 149,000 on Christmas Eve to about 97,000 on Boxing Day.
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