The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded another 6062 Covid-19 cases and one death, as a Sydney lab confirms hundreds of people who it sent premature negative results have tested positive.

Health workers conduct PCR tests at the St Vincent's Bondi Beach COVID-19 drive through testing clinic on December 22, 2021 in Sydney, as the number of COVID-19 cases keeps on the rise Health workers conduct PCR tests at the St Vincent’s Bondi Beach Covid-19 drive through testing clinic. Photo: AFP


Hospitalizations in the state have risen to 557, up from 521 in the previous reporting period.

There are now 60 patients in intensive care.

The latest figures were taken from more than 93,581 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.

Meanwhile, St Vincent’s Hospital, which operates pathology unit SydPath, has confirmed about half of the 950 people who received premature texts advising they had tested negative for Covid-19 have actually tested positive.

“SydPath can confirm that as of last night, all of these people received their accurate test results, 486 of whom were confirmed as being Covid positive,” it said in a statement.

“Once again, we are sincerely sorry for this error and acknowledge the significant impact it has had on those involved.”

A spokesperson said it had moved from an “automated system to a manual system to expedite the release of negative test results” to meet growing demand around the state.

“Unfortunately during this manual process a simple data processing error was made which led to the wrong test results being released,” it said.

“We have reverted to our automated systems to ensure this type of error cannot happen again.”

The pathology service said it would be reducing the number of Covid-19 swabs it will process to “maintain the quality” of its testing.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the testing bungle was caused by “human error” from within an “exhausted” pathology network.

“I have spoken to the chief executive of that hospital and made sure they have reviewed their procedures and protocols,” Hazzard said.

Hazzard said the pressure on both private and public laboratories in NSW was “incredible” and he renewed calls for the Queensland government to drop its requirement for PCR testing of interstate travellers.

“Anything we can do, anything at all, to remove some of the pressure would be extremely helpful,” he said.

“It’s time the PCR testing for tourism was dropped, preferably today … we are now in the era of this pandemic where rapid antigen tests make more sense in many cases than PCR tests.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk previously said that the requirement for travellers to produce a negative PCR test would not be reconsidered until 1 January.

However, this morning her government scrapped the requirement for travellers to get PCR tested on their fifth day in Queensland in response to huge queues at testing clinics in the state.

Queensland records 1158 Covid-19 cases

Queensland has recorded 1158 new cases of Covid-19. There are 4779 active cases in the state and no people in ICU.

Six cases are in hospital receiving care for Covid-19 symptoms.

The state has more than 86 percent of the population aged over 16 fully vaccinated.

Victoria records 2738 Covid-19 cases, four deaths

Victoria has recorded 2738 new Covid-19 cases and four deaths.

There are 361 patients with active Covid-19 infections in hospital, of whom 69 are in intensive care, with 33 on a ventilator.

The health department says a further 55 people are in ICU, but their infections are no longer considered active.

The new cases were detected from 66,683 test results received on Monday.

There are now 17,821 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 678 people have died during the current outbreak.

ACT records highest daily tally of Covid-19 cases

The ACT has recorded 252 new cases of Covid-19, the highest daily tally yet, amid calls for patience in queues at testing facilities.

There are currently three people in hospital with the virus, none of whom are in ICU.

Testing numbers in the territory remain high, with 2980 negative tests returned yesterday.

Tasmania records 43 new Covid-19 cases

Tasmania has recorded 43 new Covid-19 cases. There are now 243 active cases in the state -142 are being monitored at home, 60 are in a medi-hotel.

One person is in hospital, after being admitted for an unrelated medical condition.