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Covid cases to balloon after Sydney lab blunder

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Experts said the multiplier effect of the bungle at St Vincent’s Hospital, which was put down to human error, is set to expand rapidly – adding further strain to Sydney’s buckling system. The private hospital’s lab, SydPath, revealed on Monday that it prematurely texted 995 people that they had tested negative to Covid-19 despite their results still waiting to be determined. The nightmare builds on an earlier blunder, revealed on Sunday, where 400 positive cases were told they were negative. Clinical respiratory expert Bruce Thompson said the problem was being magnified by NSW’s “R rate” of 2.5 – meaning that every positive Covid case infects at least another two-and-a-half people. By this calculation he anticipates that 400 people who were given the all-clear on Christmas Day could have infected at least another 1000 people so far – and that figure could balloon to 2500 in a matter of days.“Imagine that the 400 people who are positive are at a Christmas party and a church service on Christmas Day sitting with a cathedral full of people,” he said. “Every five days the numbers are doubling. That 400, by definition, in a couple of days will be 1000. And if they don’t turn this around, in another couple of days it will be 2500.” Prof Thompson said the news was more promising for the 995 people who received a premature result because not all of them would be positive. Daily Telegraph – News Feed latest episode“At the moment, NSW has a positive test rate of 6.5 per cent. By that chance alone, there are about 65 people (in that group) who are positive.”Those 65 people would have infected at least another 162 people already, according to Prof Thompson.He added that the Christmas timing would make it more likely for the positive cases to have met others.“Until they get the R value down, it’s quite spooky for me to see NSW at the moment. It’s called the silly season for a reason … imagine if those 400 people went to the SCG,” he said. It’s understood the problem came down to one single person at the lab who made a mistake in a single instance. Centennial Park local Emmi Payten was among the 400 people who were sent the wrong results at about 7pm on Christmas Day – but the 22-year-old trusted her gut and stayed home. “I felt like I was sick and they say if you test too early you don’t get a positive result so I stayed in isolation and I got another test on Boxing Day,” she said.Ms Payten was informed of her positive diagnosis at 9pm on Boxing Day.“I think it’s a really sad situation that they’ve been put in,” she said.“I’m not surprised a mistake like this has happened, the numbers are crazy, and they’ve worked through all of Christmas. Now it makes you so wary.” NED-5192-DT-App-Banner



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