Lewis County: take COVID-19 test results seriously despite apparent false positives

WWNY Lewis County: take COVID-19 test results seriously despite apparent false positives

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - While there appear to have been false positive COVID-19 tests in Lewis County, officials there are telling people it’s still important to trust the testing system.

Recently, 4 of Lewis County General Hospital's nursing home employees tested positive and then negative multiple times for COVID-19.

Another health system employee also initially tested positive, then later negative for the virus.

But despite these apparent false positives, Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche says the community still needs to believe in testing.

"It's just simple math. If you do have enough tests, you're going to have some false positives. But what I want to reiterate more than anything is testing is the way out of this virus situation for the world. It's going to take testing, tracing and isolating," he said.

The nursing home employees aren't allowed to return to work for 14 days from the first positive test, as required by the state.

However, health system CEO Jerry Cayer calls the regulation flawed and is working on getting false positives recognized. He's drafting a letter to the state Department of Health.

"I'm not pleased that we have 4 people sitting at home today who I wish weren't sitting at home today, who could be contributing to our vision and mission by being on campus," he said.

Although he says he will continue to express his profound dissatisfaction, Cayer believes they should be testing.

"My question, my concern is not in any way intended to say we should not be testing. We need to be testing. That is sound public health in this situation," he said.

Piche also says if false positives come in, they need to be taken seriously.

“If you get a call from public health, it is very important that you cooperate, that you be kind. Our public health officials are doing the best they can to keep everyone safe and even if you believe that you are a contact of someone who’s false positive, please be respectful and understand we’re doing our best to keep the community safe,” he said.

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