Providence Manor resident test for COVID-19 was a false positive

A joint investigation between Providence Care and KFL&A Public Health has determined that the Providence Manor resident who originally tested positive for COVID-19, was actually a false positive, and the outbreak on Sydenham 4 at Providence Manor has been declared over.

“No test is perfect and with the low number of true COVID-19 cases in the population, the proportion and likelihood of false positive results increase,” says Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “The resident’s first COVID-19 was a weak positive. A weak positive result on a screening test requires clinical correlations to make a final diagnosis for any disease.”

The joint investigation included re-testing the resident for COVID-19 as well as all residents on Sydenham 4. Staff members, identified as being in close contact with the resident, were also tested.

The Sydenham 4 resident was transferred to hospital and tested two additional times for COVID-19, says Providence Care. Dr. Gerald Evans, Providence Care’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control, and the medical team caring for the patient conducted the subsequent tests at Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s Kingston General Hospital site.

“Both times the test results came back negative. Working together with the internal medicine team and the Infectious Diseases consultant directly involved with the case, we determined the resident’s clinical diagnosis was not consistent with COVID-19 and their original test result was a false positive. Meaning the resident never had COVID-19 and was not infected with the virus,” explains Dr. Evans.

There are 37 residents who reside on Sydenham 4, including the resident whose test result was a false positive. All 36 other residents on Sydenham 4 also tested negatively for COVID-19, according to Providence Care.

Providence Care says that out of an abundance of caution, Public Health also began testing residents on Montreal 4, because the Resident Home Area is on the same floor as Sydenham 4. All of the tests of the 14 residents on Montreal 4 were negative.

70 staff members who work on Sydenham 4 and Montreal 4 were also tested during the investigation. All test results were negative.

“Our entire organization breathed a collective sigh of relief when all the COVID-19 test results came back negative,” says Cathy Szabo, Providence Care President & CEO. “I’m so proud of the way our teams leaped into action, especially Dr. Evans and our Infection Prevention and Control teams. We were able to implement outbreak measures immediately to protect our residents, and identified which staff needed to be tested and got them to a testing centre right away.”

The resident’s symptoms have since resolved, and they are doing well, according to Providence Care, although the resident remains in hospital. Providence Care, KFL&A Public Health and Ontario Health are working together to determine when the resident can return to Providence Manor safely. 

“Since this case was determined to be a false positive, it will be removed from the list of cases on KFL&A Public Health’s dashboard,” said Dr. Moore.

The joint investigation is now complete.

“It’s been a stressful few days for not only Providence Care but also our residents and their loved ones. I’m so pleased we’re able to share this good news with them and help alleviate any fears or anxieties they may have had,” said Szabo. “But the work doesn’t stop here. Providence Care will continue to work with our partners at KFL&A Public Health to ensure we have every protective measure in place at all our sites across the region, to keep our staff and the people we serve safe.”

Enhanced preventative measures are still in place at all Providence Care sites, including daily screening of all Providence Care Hospital staff, twice-daily screening of all Providence Manor staff, frequent deep cleaning of all high contact surfaces, use of personal protective equipment, and restrictions on site visitors.

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