CT Dept. of Public Health finds flaw in virus testing, led to at least false positive tests. No big deal?

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HARTFORD, CT– On Monday, July 20th, the Department of Public Health announced that a “flaw” in a coronavirus testing system has led to a least 90 false positive COVID-19 tests.

According to the Department of Public Health (DPH), in a one-month period, specifically from June 15th to July 17th, 144 people were given positive results after their specimens were ran through a system manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific of Waltham, Massachusetts.

According to the Hartford Courant, the acting DPH commissioner, Dr. Diedre Gifford said that nearly all of the affected tests were taken from nursing homes or assisted living facilities. All patients who were given false positives have been notified of the error by the DPH.

Dr. Gifford said in a statement:

“This error is going to apply to a minority of tests in the state. Anybody who’s received a positive test, they should absolutely assume that the positive result is correct until such a time they are informed by their provider of a change.”

Dr. Gifford went on to say that only a small percentage of the state’s tests would have ran through the Thermo Fisher system, which the state began using on June 15th. Due to those two facts, Dr. Gifford said that it is important for patients who have tested positive for coronavirus to still assume that they do in fact have the virus.

According to reports, the Thermo Fisher system’s error was initially discovered when public health lab director, Dr. Jafar Razeq and his team were working to validate pool testing. Pool testing is the process of testing a large number of specimens at one time and in order to validate that process, the team had to use specimens that were already known to be positive.

However, this validation process requires the team to determine the strength or weakness of the positive specimens, and unfortunately that information is not readily available from the Thermo Fisher system. 

In order to get the information Razeq and his team needed, they had to go into the raw data and pull from there, that is when they discovered that some of the test results were not actually positive.

Razeq said in a statement:

“When we started looking at the background information on these specimens, we realized that these specimens should have not been reported as positives. That was alarming.”

Shortly after their discovery, the team pulled all of the specimens that the Thermo Fisher system had labeled as “positive” because they were concerned about the possibility of more false positives. Between June 15th and July 17th, more than 2,000 samples had been run through the system and of those, 161 specimens corresponding to 144 patients, came back positive.

Razeq and his team then retested all of the positive samples and found that out of them, only 54 patients marked as “positive” had actually had an identifiable case of coronavirus.

He said in a statement:

“If it had not been for us looking into the pool testing to use some of these previously known positive samples, there were no indications that any of these reported positive results would have been questioned. There was nothing for us to question the results that we had, if it was not for the pool testing.”

According to officials, after this alarming discovery, DPH notified both Thermo Fisher and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On the same day the DPH sent its notification, the FDA modified the instructions for the Thermo Fisher system and under the new instructions, the system should be more accurate. 

Dr. Gifford said in a media release:

“Accurate and timely testing for the novel coronavirus is one of the pillars supporting effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the quick action of our team at the state lab, adjustments have already been made to ensure the accuracy of future test results from this platform.”

According to the Connecticut COVID-19 Data Tracker, as of this writing, there have been 48,223 positive cases with 672,386 tests reported. There have been 4,406 deaths. 

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Here is another article from Law Enforcement today about COVID-19 reporting:

ORLANDO, FL- On Monday, a FOX 35  Orlando investigation discovered an inflation of coronavirus cases by the Florida Department of Health. According to the investigation, in its aggregation and publication of test results from laboratories, the Sunshine State’s health authorities “misreported” the number of persons testing positive for coronavirus.

According to Breitbart, FOX 35 anchor, Charles Billi explained why the investigation was conducted.

He said:

“We found numerous labs that are only reporting positive test results, so they show a 100% positivity rate. That got our attention.”

According to FOX 35, after they noticed errors in the state’s report on positivity rates, the Florida Department of health said that some laboratories have not been reporting negative test result data to the state. 

Countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive. Other labs had very high positivity rates. In the investigation, FOX 35 found that testing sites like “one local Centra Care, reported that 83 people were tested and all tested positive. Then, NCI Diagnostics in Alachua reported 88 percent of tests were positive.” *************** 

FOX 35 investigated these astronomical numbers by contacting every local location mentioned in the report. The report showed that Orlando Heath had a 98 percent positivity rate, however, when FOX 35 contacted the hospital, they confirmed those errors in the report. Orlando Health’s positivity rate is only 9.4%, NOT 98% as shown in the report.

The report also showed that the Orlando Veteran’s Medical Center had a positivity rate of 76 percent. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the VA told FOX 35 that the percentage in the report does not accurately reflect their numbers.  In fact, their positivity rate for the VA is actually 6%.

On Tuesday, when FOX 35 spoke with the Florida Department of Health, they confirmed that although both private and public laboratories are required to report positive AND negative results to the state immediately, some have not.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said:

“The Department immediately began working with those labs to ensure that all results were being reported in order to provide comprehensive and transparent data. As the state continues to receive its results from various labs, the Department will continue educating these labs on proper protocol for reporting COVID-19 test results.”

Currently, Florida is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, reporting the state’s daily reported cases have gone from about 2,000 a day a month ago to over 12,000 a day. On Tuesday, state health officials reported the largest single-day increase in deaths yet, as 132 more were announced.

According to FOX 35, doctors had been predicting that a surge in deaths would follow Florida’s jump in daily reported cases. The growing caseload is partly driven by increased testing, but a larger percentage of tests are coming back positive, jumping from 6% a month ago to more than 18%.

While Florida has now broken the national records for jumps in cases, the state’s death toll is nowhere near the national record. When COVID-19 was spreading rapidly through New York three months ago, it recorded 799 deaths in one day on April 9th and had a top seven-day average of 763 deaths on April 14th. Currently, New York now has one of the nation’s lowest death rates per capita, recording 10 per day over the last week.

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LET UnityLast week Law Enforcement today reported a surge in LA county as well, but this time, it wasn’t due to increased testing.

There’s been a recent spike in COVID cases that have cropped up in Los Angeles County in California, which some officials are saying that the protests that took during the month of June likely contributed to the spread.

Of course, other officials and news outlets are wagging their proverbial index finger over the spike at familial gatherings at homes and dining out. 

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer was among those pointing to protests as a “highly likely” reason as to why COVID has seen a comeback in Los Angeles County. Based upon footage of some of the protests, like the one featured below, it’s hardly surprising one could make such a conclusion.

In the above video, after showcasing thousands of people standing in close proximity (that’s not social distancing…), the video caps with a message that actually says:

“Get up, get out, get active.”

Well, that’s quite the departure from classic hits from March through the end of May that consisted of such phrases as:

  • Stay home, save lives.
  • This is the new normal.
  • Stay the f**** at home.
  • It’s not about you, it’s about those most vulnerable.

A Black Lives Matter rally on June 14th was said to have attracted about 30,000 people, and yet California Governor Gavin Newsom had the audacity to say on June 24th that families hosting play dates for kids or family gatherings were responsible for the increased cases:

“Many of us understandably developed a little cabin fever. Some of us, I would argue, developed a little amnesia. Others have just frankly taken down their guard. People are mixing and that is increasing the spread of the virus.”

Obviously little Timmy’s piñata party or having your family over is what caused Los Angeles County to see more cases.

Even though the state’s contact tracers are saying that new cases might stem from “gatherings among friends and extended family,” that’s still a tough sell for the governor to not explicitly call out multi-thousand gatherings in the streets.

Now, there are concerns that hospital bed capacity could become an issue in areas of California; and outlets like the Los Angeles Times are shaking their proverbial finger at eateries:

“Half of the restaurants visited by county inspectors are not complying with the new rules, and officials have seen examples of overcrowding at public spaces.”

I wonder what a prime example of “overcrowding at public spaces” would look like…maybe it would look a little something like this group of people in Los Angeles on May 30th:

CT Dept. of Public Health finds flaw in virus testing, led to at least false positive tests. No big deal?
Protesters gathered in Los Angeles on May 30th, 2020

But certainly, people sitting inside of an Outback Steakhouse at a reduced operating capacity trying to get their hands on a fresh order of Bloomin’ Onions it what has led to a substantial increase in COVID cases.


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