Test samples ‘no longer fit’ after seven days of waiting

Separately, positive patients who listed their rapid antigen tests with the Department of Health for the first time on Friday – accounting for 26,428 additional infections reported on Saturday – were also falsely told they could leave isolation as of the date. at which positive tests were received, rather than seven days later.

The corrections were then sent approximately 90 minutes later. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” the messages said.

Wait times at testing sites have reached up to six hours or more after an explosion in Omicron cases and the busy Christmas and New Years period, forcing the Victorian government to expand its reliance on rapid antigen testing which were also rare. People were unable to access either a PCR or a rapid test kit, which was now distributed free at 40 testing sites.

Tensions in the system led to a botched results in Sydney late last month, when hundreds of people were falsely told they were negative for COVID-19 due to “human error”.

Melbourne Pathology was one of four private pathology labs that closed their testing centers as of Tuesday, along with 4Cyte, ACL and Dorevitch, to deal with a backlog of tests. The providers operate a total of 54 test sites in Victoria, including 4Cyte for 41.

Melbourne Pathology medical director Dr Ellen Maxwell told ABC Melbourne radio this week that there had been an “absolute tsunami” of demand for testing before the holiday season and staff had been working overtime.

“I think there is no relief in the very short term, in the next few weeks, and I would just apologize to the community for the limitations of the system so that I can provide them with the level of testing they have. get used to it, ”said Dr Maxwell, who tested positive for the virus this week.

“We’re all a little sorry that we can’t keep it going at this point. “

The president of the Royal College of Pathologists in Australasia, Dr Lawrie Bott, said this week that it was “an extremely difficult time for the laboratories”.

“We are asking for the patience and cooperation of the community as Australian lab turnaround times increase. At present, the laboratories are operating beyond their capacity and the staff are working under great pressure. To put that in context, 1.7 million PCR tests were performed last week, or 242,000 per day. This represents about 1 in 106 people in Australia, every day.

Laboratories have had to change testing procedures due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community and staff have also been put on leave after becoming infected with the virus, Dr Bott said.

Melbourne Pathology has been contacted for a response.

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