74 New Yorkers Tested for Coronavirus Got False Positive Results

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 15: A nurse seals a specimen bag containing a COVID-19 test swab at a St. John’s Well Child & Family Center mobile clinic set up outside Walker Temple AME Church in South Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 15, 2020 in Los Angeles, …
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Seventy-four Long Island, New York, residents tested for the coronavirus this month received false positive results, according to a report.

The impacted patients went in for testing between July 9 and July 14, according to Sunrise Medical Laboratories in Hicksville, New York.

Sunrise told Newsday that about 1.5 percent of patients tested during that time were affected and that it was an “isolated incident [that] does not impact any patients who received a negative result during that time or testing performed at any other time or by any other facility.”

Sunrise added that it was a “possible COVID-19 specimen contamination issue.”

The lab did not disclose how many tests it performs per week or how many tests total were affected by the false positives.

“Corrected reports were issued to providers caring for all affected patients on July 16 and 17, 2020,” the lab said in a statement. “After extensive consultation with the New York State Department of Health [NYSDOH], and out of an abundance of caution, we are offering retesting to all patients receiving the corrected report at no charge. We are currently working with providers to reach out to the affected patients and complete the retesting as soon as feasible.”

Suffolk County said 68 of its residents were affected, and is treating all cases as positive for now.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the [Department of Health] will still treat them as positive cases until the 14-day window to become symptomatic concludes or they test negative,” Derek Poppe, a spokesperson for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, wrote to Newsday in an email. “Our contact tracers will still follow up with them daily to check in.”

Nassau County spokesperson Michael Fricchione said the county health department is “aware of the six residents notified of receiving false positive test results from the private laboratory, and is in contact with these residents.”

There have been other reports of false positive coronavirus test results coming in from around the country.

NBC Connecticut reported that 90 people who tested positive for the virus did not have the virus. The majority of suspected coronavirus cases in southern Vermont turned out to be false positives, WCAX reported.


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