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Pathology insider shares brutal truth about PCR test delays.About COVID testing – COVID
An anonymous healthcare worker has provided a harrowing account of what is happening behind the scenes on the frontline of Australia’s surging Covid cases amid huge testing delays and bungles.
A lengthy and in-depth post has gone viral after being shared on Reddit’s Coronavirus Down Under message board. The insider at a pathology unit at a hospital detailed why it is taking so long to process PCR tests for Covid and lifted the veil on how torturous it is for health care workers at the moment. The account was backed up by several other people who claimed to be healthcare professionals, as well as physician and health commentator Dr Norman Swan who tweeted that a source in the industry verified the account.
With negative tests mandated for interstate travel, the testing systems in both public and private healthcare facilities just weren’t designed to cope with such high demand.
The healthcare worker, believed to be in NSW, says testing clinics were relying on batch testing which lumps a large number of tests together and only separates them out if there is a positive.
The method was working efficiently but now due to the higher percentage of positive results, it’s getting much harder keep up. My former partner ran PCR tests in a lab, as a microbiologist and infectious disease doctor. The details in the reddit thread is exactly as she explained to me.
She did not post it. I watched her work tirelessly throughout the pandemic, selflessly, into the ground. The pathologist worker also said at any given time the staffing situation in healthcare is “dire”, with most wards or clinics having just enough workers to get by. Pathologies had barely just gotten over the hurdle that was the prior lockdown, with very few resources and dwindling staffing.
Fresh twist after people wrongly sent negative Covid results. Crazy scenes as people fight for Covid tests amid Omicron outbreak. Omicron has taken off, particularly in NSW where the lack of controls has really allowed it to go completely out of control,” he said. The Reddit post said testing capacity was at the “absolute limit” and there is no more equipment available, “let alone staff” to process test samples — which is why so many people are reporting waiting up to three or four days for their result.
Is some cases having to miss out on their holiday. The testing system doesn’t end after tests have been processed with data entry and the work required to send results “crippling” some labs.
It’s a time consuming process and the pathologist warned people should not trust labs saying results will be available in a matter of hours. We are being bombarded with work and cannot make things go any faster, not for you or anybody else,” they said, adding their own test has been sitting idle for days among other tests yet to be processed. With the rising number of Covid cases, testing requirements for travel and people wanting to make sure they’re not passing on Covid to loved ones over the Christmas period, it’s no wonder the testing system is overwhelmed.
Dr Moy says instead of testing travellers, attention needs to be redirected to those who are symptomatic and therefore more infectious. Private providers have been a vital support and NSW Health has been working with them to ensure turnaround times for tests are as quick as possible,” a spokesperson said. The pathologist said hospitals and some clinics have rapid PCR tests which are used in cases where a patient needs to be transferred into a different ward, into surgery or to have another procedure.
Supplies are running out to operate rapid PCR analysers and they say hospitals are not equipped to handle this. Healthcare staff have been left a burden which we do not have the resources to manage,” they said. I cannot speak for nurses or doctors on these wards, they must be going through unimaginable stress and hardship. The hospitals are not equipped for this. Many on the Reddit thread, who also work in health care, backed up what the anonymous pathologist was saying.
A registered nurse and midwife said the impact Covid will have on the “overworked” healthcare system will be felt for decades to come. Another person remarked that most people won’t appreciate the “true cost” and said with a stretched hospital system even non-Covid patients suffer too.
Dr Moy said the actual rate of infection in NSW is most likely much higher than what is being reported. It is completely out of control in NSW at the moment. NSW has sped up going into the fog. Before Christmas the state reintroduced a mask mandate and QR code check-ins while premier Dominic Perrottet also announced rapid antigen tests will be provided for free for NSW residents next year.
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