Tasmania Public Health department sends messages incorrectly releasing positive cases from quarantine

Thousands of incorrect messages sent freeing cases from quarantine

A mass Public Health messaging error saw almost 3000 positive COVID-19 cases told they could leave quarantine before their period of isolation was over.

The messages were received across Tasmania with individuals who were PCR tested in Launceston, Hobart and Devonport all recipients of the erroneous message.

A state Health Department spokesman confirmed the messages had been sent in error to 2823 people who had not yet completed their period of isolation.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 8356 active cases in Tasmania, meaning 34 per cent of active cases received the message.

The spokesman said it was due to a "system issue", and as a result "systems were being refined to ensure the error does not reoccur".

The Launceston recipient, who chose not to be named, was completing their sixth day in quarantine when they received their message at 11.39am on Tuesday morning.

"Thank you for your cooperation during your isolation period," it read.

"Please find attached Release From Quarantine Letter ... Thank you for your co-operation."

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Twenty-four minutes later they were told the message was an error sent "due to technical issues".

"Please disregard the prior message for your release from quarantine," it read.

"Public health will send your release from isolation letter in the next few days."

Both messages were ended with a sign off from "Dr Julie Graham Deputy Director of Public Health".

The person who received the message in Hobart, who also wished to remain anonymous, had received their positive PCR result only two days earlier and said they at first questioned whether the message may have been a scam.

The person from Devonport who received the message said they were under the impression, until about 4pm on Tuesday, the messages were sent from "hackers".

The spokesman said the risk of the erroneous messages was expected to be "minimal".

"A correction was sent out as soon as the error was discovered, about 20 minutes later," he said.

"In our highly vaccinated community, and with people practising COVID safe behaviours, it is expected that the risk to the public has been minimal, particularly given the very short time involved between messages as well as people being asked to remain in isolation if they are symptomatic."

This story Thousands of incorrect messages sent freeing cases from quarantine first appeared on The Examiner.