Miner, his workmates and the false COVID-19 tests

QUEENSLAND Health has revealed a "minute proportion'' of wrong results in coronavirus tests.

The false positives include a BHP worker from Blackwater Mine, whose workmates were forced into isolation after his test earlier this month.

Queensland Health told BHP the worker had been retested as negative, blaming the original positive result on a "laboratory error''.

In a statement to The Sunday Mail, Queensland Health said false positives were removed from the running tally of COVID-19 cases, now at 1026.

It said no pathology test is completely accurate, but accuracy is "very good'' for COVID-19 tests, which detect viral genetic material from a swab taken from the back of the throat and nose.

 

"A minute proportion of the 95,000 tests we have performed have returned erroneous results,'' the statement said.
Queensland Health would not reveal the number of wrong results due to processing errors, problems taking the swab or the presence of the virus varying at different phases of the illness.

 

The department called on Queenslanders to get a flu vaccine before the flu season starts in June.

"Although the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the severity and spread of influenza, which may make a person more susceptible to other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19,'' the Queensland Health statement said.

"It is vital that all Queenslanders aged from six months get vaccinated against influenza this year to prevent our hospitals from being clogged with flu patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect people from being infected simultaneously with flu and COVID-19.''

Queensland Health said it had distributed a record 1.1 million doses of free flu vaccine to GPs, hospitals and community immunisation clinics across Queensland.

Free vaccines are available to children aged from six months to five years, all adults aged 65 or older, pregnant women, all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people suffering heart disease, severe asthma, diabetes or impaired immunity.

The federal government has secured 16.5 million flu vaccinations to be distributed through state and territory health departments, with half to be provided free through the National Immunisation Program.

Originally published as Miner, his workmates and the false COVID-19 tests