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Hundreds of COVID-positive people in Sydney urgently contacted after getting wrong test results

Lines of cars are seen as members of the public wait for a COVID-19 test at the St Vincents Hospital drive-through testing clinic, Sydney Source: AAP(Image/Bianca De Marchi)

A Sydney hospital is contacting hundreds of patients, after wrongly telling them they had tested negative for COVID-19.

Thousands have been presenting for COVID-19 testing in recent days.

The state's system is under so much strain, it's led the government to urge people to avoid testing if they can.

Premier Dominic Perrotet says only those travelling interstate, those who feel sick, or those directed to test by New South Wales health, should be in the testing line.

"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, particularly for people who are unwell, and in addition to that, so that pepole who are travelling interstate can do so"


  • PCR testing clinics face a large increase in demand with wait times of five hours at some sites
  • The individuals who were affected by the mistake are now being contacted as a matter of urgency.
  • New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard says rapid antigen test would be much better for interstate travellers

Amid the mounting pressure, mistakes have been made in reviewing results.

At Sydney testing clinics - run by St Vincent's Hospital's SydPath - 400 people who had tested for the virus got the news they were negative.

Except that news was wrong. They were in fact positive.

Medical Director of SydPath, Professor Anthony Dodds, says there was a swift response as soon as the error was picked up.

"These people, in fact, had tested positive for COVID. As soon as we became aware of this issue this morning, SydPath immediately commenced a process to contact these impacted individuals... An emergency response team is now investigating the cause of this mistake which is believed to be due to human error. We sincerely apologise for the mistake that has been made"

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