A Sydney COVID Testing Lab Says They Wrongly Told 400+ People They Were Negative On Xmas Day

sydney covid

A Sydney COVID testing clinic says they wrongly told more than 400 people on Christmas Day that they were negative when they actually tested positive.

According to a media statement by St. Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, “SydPath last night incorrectly messaged more than 400 people, advising them they had tested negative to COVID. These people had tested positive to COVID.

“As soon as we became aware of the issue this morning, SydPath immediately commenced a process to contact impacted people,” a spokesperson continued in the statement.

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

“We sincerely apologise to all those impacted.”

Speaking with PEDESTRIAN.TV, a spokesperson clarified that the tests related to the error were conducted on the 22nd and 23rd of December. That cohort was then falsely told they had negative results on the 25th.

It’s unclear which Local Government Area these tests were done at but the spokesperson told us that SydPath operates testing facilities in Bondi Beach. Rushcutter’s Bay, East Sydney, Fairfield, Marylands and Carlingford.

Now, before you ready your pitchforks it’s worth mentioning here that this error, while awful, is more about how our healthcare system is under-resourced and overwhelmed right now rather than anyone’s individual fault.

We’ve all seen the long lines at testing centres, the empty RAT test shelves at chemists, and the many accounts of people not receiving their test results for more than 72 hours since their swab. Knowing that, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that people in high-stress and high-pressure environments and working overtime are more likely to make an error.

TL;DR: shit sucks but please, don’t blame people who work in health over this, blame the people in power who didn’t put effective safety measures in place during the busiest period of the year before it was too late. And I say that as someone who had COVID this month and was literally turned away from a hospital because they ran out of beds in the COVID ward.

NSW Health recorded 6,394 in the 24 hours from 8PM last night, however, it’s unclear if that’s the exact number here given today’s error. 109, 545 people came forward for testing, which is roughly 40,000 less than the previous day.

While there are currently 458 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 52 people in intensive care, 15 of whom require ventilation, recent data in the UK shows that the risk of hospitalisation is 40% lower with the Omicron variant than it was with Delta.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has not yet publicly commented on this story but said locals should only go and get a PCR test if they are showing symptoms – no matter how mild they may be.

“If you do not feel unwell, if you are not required to be tested and have not been directed so by New South Wales Health … there is no need to be tested,” he said during a press conference today.

“What we can’t have are people sitting in testing queues which takes away from people who are unwell and who need that test –because we want to get those tests back as quickly as possible.”

On Thursday, the Premier announced that a bunch of restrictions were back, including QR check-ins and masks in indoor settings, until January 27th.