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FALCONER – A Village of Falconer resident is speaking out following conflicting results about his COVID-19 rapid test in Chautauqua County.
Steven Michelson tells WNY News Now two weeks ago he was rapid tested for the virus by the Chautauqua County Health Department in Dunkirk prior to a biopsy at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo.
Michelson says staff originally told him he tested negative, but then later he got a call that he needs to quarantine after testing positive.
“I told her that I had received a week earlier a paper from the site stating that I was negative, and something was wrong,” explained Michelson. “She said she would have to look into the matter and call me back.”
Michelson says the county health department later confirmed he did indeed test negative for the virus, but he describes the whole ordeal as a nightmare; citing the uncertainty of his diagnosis.
Because of federal health laws, the Chautauqua County Health Department could not specifically speak to Michelson’s case, however, they say there was not issue with the rapid test’s accuracy, but rather, a data entry occurred error.
Since then the Health Department has implemented another ‘check,’ a separate set of eyes, to make sure the mistake will not happen again. The Health Department says this is the first error of its kind since the pandemic began, and that false negatives remain very rare.
Michelson says he spoke out to raise awareness about the issue, but not go after health workers.
“It definitely left a blank impression inside of me of not knowing and not trusting the system that is set up,” said Michelson. “I do understand that these people are up against a lot in trying to keep track of this stuff, I’m not saying that they are villains at all, the fact that they even had me on their list shows me that they were trying to help me out in the first place.”