MOSSEL BAY NEWS - A local woman who was tested for Covid-19 earlier this month is among 20 other patients whose test samples disappeared and who, as a result, had to be retested.
The woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, says she experienced flu-like symptoms on Monday, 2 November.
"Because it's protocol to avoid arriving at work with these symptoms, I called in sick and immediately reported to Alma Clinic to be tested for Covid-19.
"I arrived with four people in the isolated queue and was advised by security that I would soon get my sticker."
She claims to have waited for more than an hour before eventually finding a seat next to the building. "I walked to the main clinic and asked the attending nurse what was happening at the testing station as I was actually feeling very ill and couldn't wait much longer."
The attending nurse, according to the woman, had been sitting inside her office, oblivious of the waiting patients. "We were then all tested and given a turnaround time of one to two days for our results. The lab was working round the clock and our results would be sent via SMS any time of day."
Self-medicating at home for two days, the woman awaited her results.
"On day three I woke up with an urgency to seek medical attention. I phoned the clinic to follow up the results and they advised that results from Monday were being delayed by a sudden surge of testing."
She proceeded to call two private practices to seek medical assistance, but without her test results, they couldn't assist.
By day four, she still had no results regarding her Covid-19 test, nor did she know when to expect them. She called the clinic again twice and was referred to the Mossel Bay Provincial Hospital on Friday, 6 November.
The nurse she spoke to reassured her that she would receive a return call by end of business on Friday, 6 November. "Following no response to that, I revisited the clinic on Monday. I was explained to by a nurse after almost two hours there, that the results went missing. I asked for proof of the delay and she printed me the email."
The email, according to the woman, lists 20 local patients in total who did not receive their results.
"The are all patients from D'Almeida and Alma clinics. It's not my fight, it's my concern. How many South Africans can afford to isolate so long? How is testing going to bring about control when results are 'lost'?
The woman* was retested on Monday, 9 November.
The Mossel Bay Advertiser made enquiries to the Western Cape Department of Health. Nadia Ferreira spokesperson for the Department confirmed that there was a problem with a batch of tests on the part of the National Health Laboratory Service. "Patients were notified to have themselves restested."
* The woman's test results were negative.
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