A large group of people who tested positive for the coronavirus were incorrectly contacted by text over the weekend and told they were negative, it was confirmed today.
HSE chief Paul Reid told morning briefing that the issue was brought to his attention and he was investigating it.
The HSE has since confirmed that on Saturday “less than 100 people “had been advised, in error, that their test did not detect Covid 19. On review these patients were, in fact, positive for Covid 19.
A spokeswoman said :”This error occurred because, in the case of a small number of lab tests, the initial test result was indeterminate.
“Ordinarily such results would indicate that another test is required.
“Given that we are dealing with a pandemic and that it was not possible to request another sample in the required timeframe a decision was made to review the initial test results and retest the sample.This was done to maximise the chance of getting a test result for the patient if possible.
“The National Virus Reference Laboratory reviewed the detailed test data from the original test result and retested the original sample.”
As a result they were able to make a determination that some were, in fact, “weakly positive".
She added:”Unfortunately these indeterminate cases were initially reported as not detected and consequently were notified to people as such in line with the results communication process.
“This was picked up by our Contact Tracing Team and remedial action taken immediately.
“A team of public health clinicians has contacted or attempted to contact each of the people involved to advise them of the correct outcome of their test, and to provide the appropriate public health advice and support to them.
“We are satisfied that no other patient has been impacted by this error.
“The HSE apologises for this error, and every effort has been made to ensure that the correct information is communicated to these patients without delay.”