CRANSTON, RI— A private laboratory told more than 100 Rhode Islanders they had tested positive for the coronavirus when they had actually tested negative, the Rhode Island Department of Health announced Friday.
State health officials were quick to clarify that the New York private laboratory is a partner of East Side Clinical Laboratory and the 113 tests —part of a larger batch with samples from other states— were not run at the Rhode Island department of State Health Laboratories.
The lab discovered a mistake with the batch of samples during quality control testing, according to Rhode Island health officials. The lab then began an internal investigation and traced the error back to an initial sample handling in the lab.
The department of health and East Side Clinical Laboratory have been working to contact those 113 people and let them, and anyone who may have come into close contact with them, know that it was a false alarm.
"All Rhode Islanders who have been tested for COVID-19 should assume that their test result is accurate unless they have been contacted and directly told otherwise," a news release said.
The 113 people who were told they tested positive for the virus, received the news sometime between July 9 and July 14, according to officials. Another 82 Rhode Islanders who tested positive were confirmed upon retesting, and another eight residents are being retested.