How a handful of North Country COVID tests went from “positive” to “negative”

WWNY How a handful of North Country COVID tests went from “positive” to “negative”

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - On August 6, Jefferson County reported 12 positive coronavirus cases, the highest one-day total to date.

However, some of those cases were reported incorrectly.

County Public Health officials say an out-of-state commercial laboratory used by a local doctor’s office reported nine positive cases to the county, which caused Jefferson County Administrator Bob Hagemann to question the data.

“The first thing obviously that is done is you do the contract tracing and everything was leading back to the lab in terms of the connection to these different people,” he said.

The New York State Department of Health led an investigation into the reference laboratory and it was determined that all of the tests were processed correctly, but some were analyzed incorrectly.

Of the nine cases reported, four were determined to be accurate positive cases, but the other five were actually negative and mistakenly listed as positive.

“It was more of a personnel glitch, something got done incorrectly and that process has been straightened out,” Hagemann said.

The county has administered almost 14,000 COVID-19 tests since March and Hagemann says this is only a small error.

“We were pleased in the speed that everything got reviewed. Our partner with the Department of Health was very cooperative with us and very helpful. Things have worked out very well in Jefferson County, so it’s safe.”

The case results have been corrected to say negative and the individuals, along with their contacts, have been released from isolation. Along with Jefferson County, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties also each reported one mistaken positive case and those results have now been changed.

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