Hundreds of patients were assured they didn’t have Covid when they had tested positive at a Sydney lab, despite the fact that the virus was on the rise in the area.
The issue occurred during the Christmas season and was caused by a “data processing glitch.”
Following the emergence of the hyper-infectious Omicron Covid variant, infection numbers in the Australian state of New South Wales are increasing.
An increase in swabbing testing, according to officials, has resulted in significant backlogs.
Some of people who have been afflicted have voiced concern that they may have inadvertently infected their loved ones during the holiday season.
The SydPath lab issued an apology on Tuesday, saying the error, which affected 886 people in total, occurred due to a “unprecedented” volume of tests.
It revealed earlier this week that it had misled 400 patients on Christmas Day that they didn’t have Covid when they didn’t. They didn’t find out about the error until the next day.
The misunderstanding was compounded when SydPath later disclosed that hundreds more people had been told they had tested negative before their findings were determined. The lab said on Tuesday that 486 people from this group had tested positive for Covid.
To deal with its increased workload, SydPath announced in a recent statement that it has switched from an automatic to a manual system.
“Unfortunately… a minor data processing error was made, resulting in the dissemination of incorrect test results,” it said.
SydPath said it had returned to its automated approach and would restrict the quantity of Covid swabs it processed in order to maintain the testing’s quality.
Stephanie Colonna, a Sydney resident who was one among those affected, told the media that she was now concerned about her family. “That is what frightens and concerns me. If (my niece and nephew) test positive, I’m to blame because I’m the one who infected them “she stated
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard stated the mix-up occurred because pathology labs were “exhausted.”
The demand for testing services in NSW has been extremely strong. Many people have complained about being turned away from clinics due to overcrowding, while others have complained about long delays for test results.
The daily average for Covid testing in NSW has been over 145,000 swabs every day for the past seven days, up from 117,000 the week before.
Some Covid limitations that had been withdrawn earlier in December had to be reinstated by the NSW government.
Separately, police in South Australia have charged a 19-year-old man with disobeying a health-care authority’s order to isolate. Despite testing positive for Covid, he went to a nightclub in Adelaide.