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Christmas is cancelled: 70-hour wait for Covid test results



While wait times at testing sites have eased after rapid antigen tests became available and close-contact testing rules changed, some people who did the right thing and got tested had their plans quashed as overrun labs processed tests at a slower pace. SA Health advises anyone tested for Covid-19 must isolate until they return a negative result. Krissi Gentilcore and boyfriend Kayne Stueve were tested at Willunga on Thursday morning, and were still waiting for their results at 3pm on Christmas Day. They both cancelled Christmas Eve plans and were expected at a lunch on Saturday. Ms Gentilcore, 25 said she called a helpline on Saturday morning at SA Pathology and was told their results were pending. “She said they were really behind … and she couldn’t tell me when my results would come through,” Ms Gentilcore, of Lower Mitcham, said. “When we got our test on Thursday morning, they said it took 24 to 48 hours, I was thinking more like Friday night we would get them back. I don’t even think we’ll get them today.”She said the state government should have provided rapid antigen tests to the public when it opened the borders. “It’s just frustrating, it’s a hard thing because I appreciate everything health workers do but I’m thinking how does this happen?” she said. “Home kits only became available yesterday, they were just not prepared, I think when they opened the border they should’ve done that so there’s not so much pressure at testing sites.” Sophie Barbour, of Inglewood, was spending her 21st birthday in quarantine after receiving a text on Saturday morning alerting her she was Covid positive. Ms Barbour was tested on Wednesday morning, and waited three days for a result. “It’s more of an anxious wait for everyone else because I know the consequences of me having it means lots of others would have to go into isolation,” Ms Barbour said. Her family had prepared for 30 guests to come for Christmas celebrations but plans were changed last minute. Others on an online forum discussing wait times reported similar long waits, including one woman tested at a Clinpath site on Wednesday morning but was still waiting for results on Saturday morning. Another SA woman had been tested at an Australian Clinical Labs site on Wednesday and was still waiting. “I have waited 70 hours … don’t even need the results any more as I’ve done a rapid antigen test (negative). But if I hadn’t, our Christmas would be ruined,” she said. A statement from SA Health said testing clinics were extremely busy in the lead-up to Christmas with SA Pathology alone processing about 16,000 Covid tests a day. “Currently, the turnaround times for results from SA Pathology sites is between 24-36 hours, depending on the location of the site,” the statement said. “We thank those coming out to get tested for their patience.”

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