Sydney hospital sends HUNDREDS of false negative Covid results on Christmas Day

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A Covid testing blunder at a major Sydney hospital has seen 400 people wrongly told they had tested negative for coronavirus.

St Vincent’s hospital said in a statement on Boxing Day, its pathology unit is now chasing down more than 400 people who received a message on Christmas Day telling them they had tested negative.

"An emergency response team is now investigating the cause of this mistake, which is believed to be human error," the statement reads.

"We sincerely apologise to all those impacted."

St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.
More than 400 people who got tested for Covid at St Vincent's Hospital received the wrong result. Source: AAP (file pic)

A text message posted on Facebook from the hospital tells the recipient they have tested negative but a following one tells them to disregard the prior message.

“Your sample was retested due to a laboratory error and is Covid-19 positive,” the text reads.

The man who posted it, a resident of Bondi, wrote he had been out and about since receiving the negative results and is now considering legal action.

"This morning I went for a walk, did some groceries, got back home and found a text message from the lab saying that there was a "laboratory error" and my test was POSITIVE. No joke," he wrote. 

"This means I could have infected my partner, our friends and any casual contact due to negligence from the lab."

A text message is seen from NSW Health about Covid test results.
A man was told he had tested negative only to be told the result was wrong. Source: Facebook

The ramifications of the botched results remain to be seen. As it is widely known, not everyone receiving a coronavirus test is doing so because they are ill or a close contact.

Under Queensland’s health guidelines, people entering the state over Christmas from hotspots, such as NSW, need a negative test within 72 hours of entering the state.

It’s not immediately clear if any of the 400 false negatives are people who have travelled to the Sunshine State for Christmas and New Year’s though.

Either way, the results are sure to add frustration to what has been a stressful time for many people in NSW over the summer holidays with lengthy Covid testing queues at clinics, many closing down due to the sheer volume of patients and claims of delays in receiving results

Members of the public queue for Covid-19 PCR tests at a clinic in Redfern in Sydney
People queue for testing at a facility in Redfern. Source: AAP

What also has to be noted is what a trying time it has been for health professionals over this period too with many hoping to take a break moving into 2022.

It’s also concerning given NSW recorded another record number of daily cases on Boxing Day following Christmas Day festivities.

That was also despite the fact Christmas Day had 40,000 less tests than in the 24 hours prior.

with AAP

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