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AdventHealth says 25,000 of its COVID-19 test results unreliable

Naseem S. Miller

Orlando Sentinel

May 16, 2020 9:57 AM

A patient for testing arrived on a motorcycle during the first day of drive-thru COVID-19 testing set up by AdventHealth at the Mall at Millenia, on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

A patient for testing arrived on a motorcycle during the first day of drive-thru COVID-19 testing set up by AdventHealth at the Mall at Millenia, on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.(Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel)

The results of more than 25,000 COVID-19 tests performed by AdventHealth in Central Florida are unreliable because concerns with a third-party lab that has been processing the tests, the health system said on Saturday morning.

AdventHealth officials did not name the testing company but said that they have terminated their contract with the lab because of “unacceptable delays” and lack of confidence in the reliability of the tests.

“Teams across our organization are working around-the-clock to remedy the situation,” said Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division, in a statement. “We take our responsibility to safeguard everyone who entrusts us with their care very seriously.”

The health system is now notifying individuals who have been impacted by letters or phone calls, providing the following directions:

  • If you received a positive result, you will need to be retested.
  • If you received a negative result and have symptoms, you will need to seek care and may have to be retested.
  • If you received a negative result and have no symptoms but want to be retested, you will be offered testing pending availability.
  • If you were tested but the test hasn’t yet been processed at the lab, you will be notified that you won’t get any results. AdventHealth has asked the company to destroy the unprocessed samples.
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AdventHealth will provide testing to affected individuals at no charge.

Who should get tested for coronavirus? Floridians get mixed messages

State and local officials are encouraging all residents to get tested for COVID-19. Many medical experts, however, say that if you have no symptoms, haven’t had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and you’re spending most of your time at home, you don’t need to be tested. But as more testing has become available, the public messaging has become muddled.

Naseem S. Miller

In late February, the Food and Drug Administration issued guidance that allowed some companies to offer diagnostic testing without the agency’s review, in order to expand testing options across the U.S. during the pandemic.

But as testing has become more widely available, public health officials have started to voice their concern with the accuracy of the results.

The Health Report: Florida Coronavirus Newsletter

Daily

A daily update on the coronavirus crisis in Florida.

For instance, earlier this week, researchers raised doubts about the accuracy of a rapid COVID-19 test used by the White House, saying that it could miss infections up to 50% of the time.

Nearly 630,000 people in Florida have been tested for coronavirus, according to the latest available data from the Florida Department of Health. Of those, 44,000, or 7%, have been positive.

List of mobile coronavirus testing sites in Central Florida by county

Here’s a list of coronavirus mobile testing sites in Central Florida.

Naseem S. Miller

According to the Florida Department of Health’s daily coronavirus report, AdventHealth Lab has performed more than 41,000 COVID-19 tests in Florida, 4% of which have been positive.

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For nearly a month, the health system offered drive-through testing in five locations in Central Florida, conducting more than 18,000 COVID-19 tests. The sites were closed at the end of this week because of a decline in demand.

Editor’s note: AdventHealth is an advertising sponsor for the Orlando Sentinel’s coronavirus channel but has no input or influence on editorial decisions or content.

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