Tasmanian Public Health Department Sends Messages Incorrectly Releasing Positive Quarantine Cases | Examiner


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A mass public health messaging error saw nearly 3,000 positive COVID cases tell themselves they could leave quarantine before their period of isolation was over. The messages were received statewide with individuals who were PCR tested in Launceston, Hobart and Devonport, all recipients of the erroneous message. READ MORE: Fears of outbreak after prisoners test positive A spokesperson for the Department of Health confirmed the messages were sent in error to 2,823 people who had not yet completed their period of isolation. He said this was due to a “system problem” and that as a result “the systems were being fine-tuned to ensure that the error did not recur”. The Launceston recipient, who chose not to be named, was completing his sixth day of quarantine when he received his message at 11:39 a.m. Tuesday morning. “Thank you for your cooperation during your period of isolation,” one reads. “Please find enclosed the release letter from quarantine … Thank you for your cooperation.” Twenty-four minutes later, they were told the message was an error sent “due to technical issues”. “Please disregard the previous message for your release from quarantine,” one reads. “Public health will send out your release letter from isolation in the next few days.” Both messages ended with a signature from “Dr Julie Graham, Deputy Director of Public Health”. The person who received the message in Hobart, who also wished to remain anonymous, had only received their positive PCR result two days earlier and said they first asked if the message could be a scam. READ MORE: Search found checks hidden in man’s anus The person from Devonport who received the message said she was under the impression that until around 4 p.m. on Tuesday the messages were sent by “hackers”. The spokesperson for the health ministry said the risk of false messages should be “minimal”. “A correction was sent as soon as the error was discovered, approximately 20 minutes later,” he said. “In our highly vaccinated community, and with people practicing COVID safe behaviors, the risk to the public is expected to have been minimal, especially given the very short time between messages as well as people urged to remain isolated if they are symptomatic. “What do you think? Drop us a letter to the editor: Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access to our trusted content:




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