Testing bungle as nearly THREE THOUSAND Australians are told they can leave isolation immediately – when in fact they could be infected with Covid
- Thousands of people incorrectly told to leave Covid isolation in text bungle
- Tasmania’s Department of Health sent the messages to 2832 people
- A second text was sent 20 minutes later blaming mistake on a ‘technical issue’
A blunder has resulted in text messages sent to nearly 3,000 Australians, some with Covid and their close contacts, incorrectly telling them they can leave isolation immediately.
The text messages sent at 11.40am Tuesday and which linked to a Tasmania Department of Health webpage advised people they could ‘now leave isolation and return to normal activities’ as long as they no longer had symptoms.
Tasmania Public Health confirmed the texts were sent to 2823 people mid-way through a week long isolation period and that a follow up message apologising for the mistake was sent 20 minutes later.
Text messages were incorrectly sent to almost 3,000 Australians telling them they could leave isolation (file image)
The original texts told recipients they ‘can show this letter to your employer or educational facility if you need to provide evidence that you have completed your isolation requirement and that you are now able return to work/education’.
The second message – which was attributed to Tasmania’s deputy public health director Julie Graham – then said to ‘disregard the prior message for your release (from) quarantine’.
‘Apologies, it was due to technical issues. Public Health will send your release from isolation letter in the next few days,’ the message said.
A Health Department spokesperson said they expected the public health risk of the blunder was ‘minimal’ because Tasmania is largely vaccinated and the second message was sent out quickly.
Also on Tuesday, Tasmania’s state health commander Kathrine Morgan-Wicks tested positive to coronavirus and is isolating at home.
Ms Morgan-Wicks said she is asymptomatic and will continue working in the role, as well as in her position as health department secretary.
She returned a positive result on Tuesday afternoon after being tested in the morning.
‘I am asymptomatic but undertook a PCR test… following a member of my household developing mild symptoms and being confirmed as a positive case,’ she said.
Ms Morgan-Wicks said she was ‘currently well’.
Members of her household are in quarantine as close contacts.
Tasmania recorded 1379 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with the number of people being treated in hospital for virus symptoms dropping to seven.
The cases are made up of 1015 self-reported positive rapid antigen tests and 364 PCR tests, taking the state’s number of active infections to 8356.
The health department says seven people are being treated in hospital specifically for COVID-19, down from 11 reported on Monday.