July 20, 2020 | By EMILY BRINDLEY | HARTFORD COURANT |
“The state Department of Public Health announced Monday morning that a “flaw” in a coronavirus testing system led to at least 90 false positive COVID-19 tests.
In the one-month period from June 15 to July 17, the department said, 144 people were given positive results after their specimens were run through a system manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific of Waltham, Mass.
Dr. Deidre Gifford, the acting DPH commissioner, said that nearly all of the affected tests were taken from nursing homes or assisted living facilities. DPH has already notified all of the patients who were given false positives, Gifford said Monday.
“This [error] is going to apply to a minority of tests in the state,” Gifford said. “Anybody who’s received a positive test, they should absolutely assume that that positive result is correct until such time as they are informed by their provider of any change.”
The state has conducted more than 650,000 tests for COVID-19 since March. There have been about 48,000 confirmed cases.
Gifford said only a small percentage of the state’s tests would have run through the Thermo Fisher system, which the state began using on June 15. Because of that, Gifford said that patients who have tested positive for coronavirus should assume that they do have the virus.
The Thermo Fisher system’s error was discovered when public health lab director Dr. Jafar Razeq and his team were working to validate pool testing, which is the process of testing a large number of specimens at one time. In order to validate that process, the team had to use specimens that were already known to be positive.
But the validation process also required the team to determine the strength or weakness of the positive specimens, and that information isn’t readily available from the Thermo Fisher system. So Razeq and his team went into the raw data to pull out the information they needed — and discovered that some of the test results weren’t actually positive.
“When we started looking at the background information on these specimens, we realized that these specimens should have not been reported as positives,” Razeq said. “That was alarming.””
Faulty Tests Vermont
July 17, 2020 | source
“As of Thursday night, only two of 17 completed retests could be confirmed as positive COVID-19 cases, Levine said at a Friday press conference. The other 15 were negative.
“Although our investigation is not complete, it appears that many of the positive antigen results reported by Manchester Medical Center might have been false positives,” Levine said.”
“..Levine also noted that many of the antigen tests were performed on patients who did not have COVID-19 symptoms. The tests were only studied on people with symptoms, and current federal and other public health guidance does not recommend their use in general screenings…”