Health officials have been forced to apologise after hundreds were wrongly ordered to isolate at Christmas due to a text message ‘glitch’.
Health officials have been forced to apologise after hundreds were wrongly ordered to isolate at Christmas due to a text message ‘glitch’.

‘Glitch’ text tells hundreds to isolate

Victoria's health department has apologised after hundreds of people were ordered to isolate at Christmas by mistake due to a text message "glitch".

The mass text message was sent out on Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services to hundreds of Victorians and incorrectly told them they were a close contact of a person with coronavirus.

"You have been assessed by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services as a close contact of a person who has been diagnosed with coronavirus," the message read, according to 7 News.

"As a close contact, you must immediately quarantine for 14 days until (January 4)."

The message also told people they needed to complete a coronavirus test on day 11 of isolation.

But the DHHS has apologised and said the text was sent to people who did not have to isolate.

 

Hundreds of Victorians were mistakenly told to isolate at Christmas. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie
Hundreds of Victorians were mistakenly told to isolate at Christmas. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

 

The health department told 7 News they were working with the hospital involved with the glitch to work out what went wrong.

The DHHS spent Wednesday trying to contact those affected by the bungle to tell them it was an error and they did not have to isolate.

One of those affected by the "glitch" was radio producer Peter Deppeler, who received a negative test result on Monday after travelling to Melbourne from Sydney.

He said he also tested negative in Sydney on Thursday.

 

 

But he posted on Instagram that he received mixed messages from the health department throughout Wednesday and they couldn't tell him if he was a close contact or not.

"I don't know, and the Victorian Government doesn't know, so I am going to be safe and I'm just going to stay here and wait for their phone call," he said.

He later posted that he received an "apology call" from the DHHS just after 5pm.

It comes after the close contacts of a 15-year-old girl from Moonee Valley all tested negative after the teenager contracted the virus after returning from Sydney's northern beaches.

Health officials said they were no identified exposure sites in Victoria from these case.

Victoria has now gone 54 days without a coronavirus case from community transmission.

The DHHS has been contacted for comment.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as 'Glitch' text tells hundreds to isolate


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