There are reports that as many as 100,000 texts have been sent by private pathology providers Melbourne Pathology, Australian Clinical Labs and Dorevitch Pathology since yesterday afternoon to tell the Victorians they will not be receiving their results.
The transcripts, sent to people who queued up for PCR tests, state that “the person’s PCR sample is no longer suitable for treatment and a result cannot be provided”.
The letters recommend a person take a rapid antigen test or self-isolate for seven days from the date of the first test.
However, with some tests taking place as early as January 5, and notifications that no results will be delivered on January 14, some people won’t know for sure if they have COVID-19.
These errors left many people frustrated, with some reporting that they had to queue for three days in a row to take the tests.
Tess McLoughlan and her partner were told they would not have their PCR results at 4 p.m. yesterday — exactly a week after they took the test in Albert Park.
She said they both experienced several symptoms of COVID-19 after returning from an interstate vacation.
Ms McLoughlan said that by the time they were told their results would not come, symptoms had eased and a rapid antigen test was not something that could be easily obtained.
She is as sure as possible that she has COVID-19, but the lack of results means she will never know for sure.
“And I wouldn’t be able to notify where you might have exposed people.
“It’s incredibly frustrating and frustrating. For this whole pandemic, we’ve been encouraged to test it constantly.
“It’s as if we were left in the dark to fend for ourselves in what turned out to be the most terrifying phase of the pandemic.”
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Ms McLoughlan said the lack of results also impacted financially on her partner as a contract worker, who was not eligible for government COVID-19 payments without result even though he had been out of work for a week.
Victoria COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed this morning that about 90,000 PCR tests have been phased out due to the testing labs being under pressure.
“They made a fundamental decision not to tackle some very old tests,” he said.
“This is something we understand and support.”
Mr Weimar said processing the seven-day-old tests “wasn’t a practical way to use our resources” and that it was a trade-off that labs had to make.
“I apologize on behalf of the broader testing regime,” he said.