Medical staff at the pop up Covid Testing site at Cavanbah Sports Ground, Ewingsdale Road Byron Bay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick
Medical staff at the pop up Covid Testing site at Cavanbah Sports Ground, Ewingsdale Road Byron Bay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

Health authority: Byron’s missing COVID tests located

71 swabs for COVID testing that were misplaced at a privately-run drive through pop up site in Byron Bay have been found.

Chief Executive at the Northern NSW Local Health District Wayne Jones confirmed the missing swabs were located.

He said the 71 swabs were part of more than 10,000 swabs processed recently in the area.

“Of these 10,000-plus tests undertaken, 71 swabs were misplaced at a privately-run drive-through testing clinic at Cavanbah Sports Ground, Byron Bay,” he said.

“However all 71 have since been located.

“The swabs were collected on Thursday 1 April and were to be transported to the laboratory for testing.

“When it emerged the swabs had been misplaced, the clinic contacted all 71 people and asked for them to be re-tested.”

Drive -through COVID testing at Byron Bay's Cavanbah Centre on Tuesday, March 30.
Drive -through COVID testing at Byron Bay's Cavanbah Centre on Tuesday, March 30.

Mr Jones said a total of 20 people presented for testing again before all of the original 71 swabs were located by the operator and sent to the laboratory.

“Of the 71 people affected, 69 people have now received negative results and two people are still awaiting results, which are expected shortly,” he said.

“We apologise to those people whose tests were misplaced and also sincerely thank those people who have presented for re-testing.”

He said an investigation into the incident was started to avoid the risk of it happening again, but he did not criticise the private health contractor for the mishap.

“The work of our private pathology partners has been critical in enabling us to significantly increase testing capacity in the area during the past week,” he said.

“We thank the Northern NSW community for coming forward for testing in such large

numbers to protect everyone in the region from the COVID-19 risk.”

The extra testing was necessary after it was confirmed Queensland cases had visited Byron Bay venues while infectious from 26-28 March.

NSW Health confirmed today that restrictions imposed on Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Tweed shires due to that visit will be lifted at midnight tonight.


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