lab vials for COVID-19

This Version Posted: May 1, 2020

Residents and staff from two long-term care homes are going to be retested after the local health unit was notified that a lab error may have resulted in false positive COVID-19 results for 13 area residents.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit today was notified by BioTest Laboratories in Ottawa that a technical error has resulted in a decision by the lab to reject all COVID-19 positive test results performed last weekend, including 13 specimens from staff and residents of two long-term care homes in the City of Kawartha Lakes. There is a concern that these results may have shown a positive test result, when they were negative.

The positive results received prompted the Health Unit to declare COVID-19 outbreaks in Case Manor in Bobcaygeon and Adelaide Place in Lindsay. The 13 individuals have been notified of the questionable test results and additional testing is being conducted immediately. The swabs are being sent to a different lab and test results are expected this weekend.

“While we hope these cases actually do test negative, this error and misdiagnosis is very unfortunate for the individuals and their families,” says Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “Many of these individuals live in Bobcaygeon and we know how devastating COVID-19 has been for that community already, so we are hopeful we will receive some good news with the new test results and can lift our outbreak declaration at these long-term care homes.”

This reporting error will also impact the close contacts of these cases. HKPR District Health Unit recommends that anyone identified as a close contact of these individuals should continue their isolation and self-monitoring until the results of the retesting have been received. All contacts can expect to hear from a public health nurse for further guidance.