Health Director: Potential “False” Negative Isn’t Unique To COVID-19 Tests

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MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says it’s possible for a COVID-19 test to come back negative falsely, with a rate that’s close to 30 percent. 

Schuyler, however, told WNYNewsNow during a press conference Friday at the County Legislative Chambers that she isn’t overly concerned about that specific statistic.

“There is that chance somebody could be testing negative,” Schuyler said. “But that is the same with every test that’s out there, that’s not something that’s special or unique to the COVID-19 test. That’s one of the reasons why we continue to isolate people and watch their symptoms, even if they have a negative test. We still are giving advice on how to isolate and when they should really be going back to work or out into the community.”

Schuyler explained that her office hasn’t seen a “false positive.”

She says the FDA recently approved an “at-home, diagnostic” COVID-19 test, but the test is reportedly very limited in use. She adds she was additionally told by the New York State Health Department that the test isn’t available in the state.

The Public Health Director is reminding people that the “most reliable” source of data a person can observe is county data, rather than data from a national institute, like John Hopkins University.

Schuyler says officials from Chautauqua County are sorting through their initial data, determining whether or not the people they test are an actual resident of Chautauqua County. Schuyler says that the only positive tests that count for Chautauqua County are those who are actual residents in Chautauqua County.

Schuyler was asked if she believes people will have better hygiene habits in the post-pandemic era.

“I sure hope so. I really think that is going to be one of the silver linings coming out of having a global pandemic,” Schuyler said. “People are much more aware of touching objects, touching their face….I think we are all going to wash our hands more frequently and use more hand sanitizer…”

Schuyler says that influenza testing has relatively gone down due to the focus on the COVID-19. She adds that the biggest difference between the COVID-19 and the influenza is the former doesn’t correlate to a change in temperature, unlike the influenza.

WNYNewsNow will continue to cover the global COVID-19 pandemic, putting facts over fear. Multimedia Journalists Justin Gould and Matt Hummel contributed to this report. 


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