Twelve in Delaware test positive for virus after being told they were negative

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) released a statement Friday regarding an error reporting COVID-19 testing results.

In partnership with Walgreens, 2,791 samples were collected for processing through the Delaware Public Health Lab in the first week of testing. In the process of results delivery, 12 persons who tested positive for COVID-19 were inadvertently given negative results by phone due to an internal DPH system error. However, all correct lab reports were reported into the surveillance system and appropriately included in statewide testing numbers and the contact tracing system, according to the DPH’s statement.

“The Division of Public Health wants to assure the public that this was not an error that occurred on site at the Walgreens testing sites,” the statement read. “All individuals involved have already been contacted by DPH, and we apologized for the uncertainty the error has caused.”

All reported results from the Walgreens testing sites were re-reviewed to ensure accuracy, according to the DPH. No patients who tested negative were given incorrect results. The problem was identified and internal system improvements have eliminated the possibility of this recurring, the DPH said.

Additionally, the DPH continues to work with its vendor to establish automated results delivery.

“Additionally, DPH continues to remind the public that a negative test is not an exemption from everyday infection prevention steps such as social distancing, use of face coverings, and hand washing,” the statement continued. “DPH case investigators and contact tracers will work with all positives to identify any close contacts who may require quarantine. We also continue to remind Delaware residents to answer our call to ensure contact tracing efforts are successful. If you get a call from (302) 446-4262, or your caller ID says DE PUBLICHEALTH, that’s a representative from the Delaware Contact Tracing Program calling to give you important information about your health.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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