A COVID-19 testing lab in Australia has
apologised for a goof-up after 400 patients mistakenly tested negative for the
contagious virus when they were actually tested positive. 

St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney on Sunday
said the false notification was sent through its pathology service, SydPath, to
patients who had taken the test on December 23 and 24.

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“SydPath last night incorrectly messaged
more than 400 people, advising them they had tested negative to COVID,” the
hospital said. “These people had tested positive to COVID.”

The hospital has currently been conducting
an investigation into the matter.

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“An emergency response team is now
investigating the cause of this mistake, which is believed to be human error,”
the statement said. “We sincerely apologized to those impacted.”

SydPath medical director Anthony Dodds said
that a “very large volume of tests” has led to the false notification.

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“As soon as we became aware of this issue
this morning, SydPath immediately commenced the process to contact these
impacted individuals,” Dodds said in a statement, Australian outlet 9News

A 34-year-old, who spoke to the media on
condition of anonymity, said he had been sceptical of the results. Despite
being told by a doctor to trust the results, he went for a rapid COVID-19 test,
which ended up being positive for the virus.

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“I said, ‘I also trust myself, I’m unwell
because every symptom I’ve had is COVID … the PCR test must be wrong,’” the man
told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He said he was frustrated by the
entire process which cost him a lot of time and eventually led to a false

“I think it was quite frustrating, in the
sense that one, it took 85 hours firstly to get the negative test result,” he

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Australia has so far reported 301,280
COVID-19 positive cases. Of them 229,264 people have recovered, while 2190