Some nursing homes nationwide are facing a new challenge with the coronavius, as about a dozen facilities are reporting an unusually high number of false positives when they use Becton Dickinson’s Veritor rapid-test machines, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
This is particularly dangerous in nursing homes, because a resident incorrectly believed to have COVID-19 could be put in an area for infected patients, thus possibly exposing an uninfected senior citizen to the coronavirus.
Nursing homes and other long-term care centers are connected to more than 70,000 COVID-19-related deaths nationwide, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of the data.
A Becton Dickinson spokesman said in a statement that the company is investigating the situation to understand why “a small number of nursing homes in the U.S. are reporting multiple false positive results” from its Veritor testing equipment.
“Reports of false positives are troubling and add to the many challenges nursing homes have to navigate,” said Katie Smith Sloan, chief executive of LeadingAge, which represents nonprofit providers of aging services.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) started shipping in the summer, both Becton Dickinson and Quidel rapid-testing, to some 14,000 nursing homes nationwide.
Quidel machines, which have gone to fewer facilities, have so far not received any reports of false-positive results from nursing homes that received its testing equipment from HHS, according to the company.
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