Lab Gives Incorrect COVID Results to Hundreds

Massive mix-up in Australia included 400 people who actually tested positive
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2021 2:07 PM CST
400 People With COVID Told They Tested Negative
Cars line up at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney Dec. 21.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

A pathology service in Sydney, Australia, had to scramble to correct a major error over the holiday weekend after telling 400 people who had tested positive for COVID that their tests were negative. Almost a thousand more people were told their tests were negative when in fact the results weren’t in yet. SydPath says they’ve contacted all of the affected people, the New York Times reports. The lab added that the mistake was made “at a time of unprecedented Covid testing activity.” Australia is seeing a surge in cases and at least one death so far from the omicron variant.

The health minister in New South Wales state, Brad Hazard, is asking people to skip getting tested unless they have symptoms, been exposed to the virus, or need a negative test to travel, Australia’s ABC TV reports. And the wait for test results has increased lately. Hazard said it’s a possibility that everyone in New South Wales will get the omicron eventually, and encouraged everyone to get vaccinated—plus a booster shot—to minimize the disease. The state government has said they’ll provide free testing kits, but have yet to pin down when that will happen. Meanwhile, Australian cities have gone back to mask mandates (More COVID-19 stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.