POTTY mouths have unintentionally locked themselves out of the NSW Health Pathology COVID-19 test result text message service.
Replies to the automated texts that inform people about their test results are in fact, read by humans.
Words like "STOP", "QUIT" and "UNSUBSCRIBE" are the obvious kill-switch words to stop receiving text messages, but unbeknownst to some COVID-19 test patients - replying "F*** OFF" or "GIVE ME MY F*****G RESULTS" will do the same thing.
Do it twice and there's no way to add the person back to the system, a NSW Health Pathology spokeswoman said.
"Our system is prevented from responding to text messages containing swear words," she said.
"Where this occurs our technical staff reviews what has occurred and can unlock the registration.
"If this continues, the system is permanently locked and we are unable to unlock it."
It means patients who have sent a swear word back to the system could spend additional time in isolation while they wait for their results, or a call from the NSW Health Pathology call centre to let them know they have unwittingly unsubscribed.
The kill-switch words are fairly universal commands to remove an individual from an automated text service.
NSW Health Pathology uses the SMS service to provide fast and accurate negative results.
It's available to people who are tested at public hospitals and COVID-19 clinics serviced by NSW Health Pathology labs.
Positive results are always prioritised and reported immediately to the referring GP and public health unit.
The average wait time for a negative test result text is about 24 hours, a NSW Health Pathology spokeswoman said.
"Currently, NSW Health Pathology is testing around 13,000 COVID-19 swabs per day, with more than 1.1 million tests performed since the onset of the pandemic," she said.
"The SMS results service is voluntary and people must register each time they are tested.
"Patients do not need to cancel or unsubscribe from the service as they will not continue to receive text messages once their result has been sent."
To receive results, the text service asks the patient to enter specific details like their surname, date of birth, gender, postcode and sample collection date.
If the registration details don't match the patients details on record, the NSW Health Pathology call centre receives an alert to check the results manually.
Then staff at the centre will either fix the mismatch so the text can be sent, or call the patient in-person.