COVID: Hundreds given false negatives in lab error

Due to a technical error at a lab in Sydney, hundreds of people have been given false negative COVID-19 reports and they celebrated Christmas with their loved ones.

Hundreds given false test results in Australian lab error
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Hundreds given false test results in Australian lab error

Even though the virus was on the rise in Sydney, hundreds of patients were assured they did not have Covid when they had tested positive at a Sydney lab. 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.

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According to officials, an increase in swabbing testing has resulted in significant backlogs. Some 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 stating the error occurred due to an unprecedented volume of tests and has affected 886 people in total.

Christmas concerns

The lab revealed earlier this week that it had misled 400 patients on Christmas Day that they did not have Covid when they did. However, as per them, they did not get to know 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 then confirmed on Tuesday that 486 people from this group had tested positive for Covid. The lab said:

Unfortunately... a simple data processing error was made which led to the wrong test results being released.

To deal with its increased workload, SydPath announced in a recent statement that it has switched from an automatic to a manual system. SydPath said it had returned to its automated approach and would restrict the quantity of Covid swabs it processed to maintain the testing's quality.

More infections on the way

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard stated the mix-up occurred because pathology labs were exhausted. A Sydney resident who was one among those affected told the Today Show that she was now concerned about her family. She commented:

That's what scares me and worries me. If (my niece and nephew) are positive, I'm the one to blame because I've infected them now.

The demand for testing services in NSW has increased. 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.

Thanks to COVID, 2020 has been the worst year for mental health since World War Two Thanks to COVID, 2020 has been the worst year for mental health since World War Two