Man urges people to double-check COVID-19 results after he receives false positive

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Throughout the pandemic, there have been reported flaws with COVID-19 testing. One man reached out anonymously to NEWS10 ABC saying “I tested negative, then positive, then negative again.”

“So I get tested once a week for my job, and I received a phone call saying I had tested positive for COVID-19 from a test that I had taken the previous week,” he said.

After receiving news of testing positive, he said his mind was going a mile a minute. He was worried about the health and well-being of his family.

“I didn’t have symptoms or anything like that. I was mainly more concerned that my wife and our child might be in harm’s way or whatever,” he said.

He said it was too hard to believe that his test results were positive after testing negative week after week. With no symptoms, he decided to double-check and get tested again.

“A few days later, after the positive test, I tested again. I waited for the results to come back while I was quarantining out of work at home. The test came back negative as well. In the meantime, I had gone out to get another test, and that one was negative as well, too,” he said.

Despite the frustration of the false-positive results, the man said he has no hard feelings toward testing centers. He said they are just doing their jobs.

“I don’t have any animosity or anger towards the health department or the testing labs,” he said.

Dr. Alan Sanders is the Chief Medical Officer for St. Peters Hospital Acute Care. Sanders said an individual response to the novel coronavirus can differ.

“We have seen people test negative then all of a sudden positive and then negative again. We used a more sensitive tool called PCR tests to back those tests. Through these tests, we can find out if they are truly negative,” said Sanders.

A representative from LabCorp said a positive result is considered definitive evidence of infection with COVID-19, and they are not aware of any false positives results with their PCR testing. However, a result of negative does not definitively rule out infection with COVID-19.

“The test may not detect the virus in an infected patient if the virus is not being actively shed at the time or site of sample collection. The amount of time that an individual was exposed prior to the collection of the specimen can also influence whether the test will detect the virus.

Additionally, as with any test, the accuracy relies on many factors, including if the specimen we receive was collected properly, sent promptly, and packaged correctly. Test results are a critical part of any diagnosis but must be used along with other information to form a diagnosis.”

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