Coronavirus CT News: Testing flaw leads to dozens of false positives

COVID-19 News and Information

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, July 20, 2020
Connecticut says it found testing flaw, 90 false positives
The Connecticut Department of Public Health says the state's public health laboratory has discovered a flaw in one of the testing systems it uses to test for the coronavirus

CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- Connecticut's State Public Health Laboratory said that dozens of people, many nursing home residents, received false positive COVID-19 test results.

The public health lab uncovered a flaw in one of the COVID-19 testing systems.

The flaw, which has been reported to both the manufacturer and the federal Food and Drug Administration, led to 90 of 144 people tested during June 15-July 17, 2020 receiving a false positive COVID test report.

Many of the persons with false-positive test results are nursing home residents. Any nursing home resident with a false positive COVID-19 test result will be retested as soon as possible.

The Department of Public Health epidemiologists are reaching out to nursing homes again Monday to review all of the clinical issues for any impacted patients.

DPH has taken immediate steps to make sure the patients are notified.

"We have notified the healthcare facilities for everyone who received a false positive test result from our state laboratory," said Acting Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, MD, MPH. "Accurate and timely testing for the novel coronavirus is one of the pillars supporting effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the quick action of our team at the state lab, adjustments have already been made to ensure the accuracy of future test results from this platform."

The errant testing results were from a widely-used laboratory testing platform that the state laboratory started using on June 15.

The false positive test results were discovered by DPH laboratory scientists during an examination of previously positive samples to determine the feasibility of testing "pooled" specimens at the state lab.

The exact cause of the false positive results is still being investigated.

The overall COVID-19 case numbers for Connecticut will be adjusted downward as a result of these false positive tests, provided that re-testing still shows the impacted individuals to be negative.

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