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False positives lead to dozens of coronavirus retests at nursing homes

September 18th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Dozens of nursing home residents had to be retested for the coronavirus after problems were found with their initial tests, WBAL-TV 11 reports. Joe DeMattos, president of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, said the tests were returning false positives. Nursing homes have been testing patients on a weekly basis since late spring. When facility operators had the results retested, most came back negative, he said.

The tests were conducted between Sept. 2 and 8. Those who are being retested got the new tests at no cost. State health officials supplied the University of Maryland School of Medicine lab with 370,000 coronavirus tests to deploy to nursing homes.

In a statement sent late Thursday afternoon, an executive from the University of Maryland at Baltimore said an investigation by the lab is underway: "It is important to note that the accuracy of all COVID-19 testing technologies can be influenced by a number of factors, including viral load, age of sample, assay performance and other variables. While our review remains ongoing, we have discovered no significant issues related to our laboratory operations or environment."

The state also gave the lab 370,000 of the test kits purchased earlier this year from a South Korean company. The lab did not identify the test kit involved in the investigation but the executive said the lab is no longer using the test from the South Korean company.

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan announced the state will procure 250,000 advanced rapid tests from Becton Dickinson.



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