A positive COVID-19 test given at a private lab in Herington that caused the shutdown of Schwan’s pizza manufacturing plant in Salina was false.

“I am happy to let you know that Dickinson County Public Health has contacted us, letting us know that the person  who was originally suspected of testing positive for COVID-19 has received a follow-up state approved and recommended test which has come back negative,” said Chuck Blomberg, communications manager for Schwan’s Shared Services.

The first test was a serology test which Dr. Brian Holmes, Dickinson County Health officer, reported in Monday’s Abilene Reflector-Chronicle might not be accurate.

He said those patients that believe they have COVID-19 should have the polymerise chain reaction test (PRC).

Schwan’s employees in Salina were informed that, while the Dickinson County resident was ill, it was not the coronavirus.

Blomberg said safety of the employees is a concern.

Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, issued a caution about the serology test for COVID-19 at a press conference on Wednesday.  

“The reason it is, is because there are over 100 serology testing platforms now in front of the FDA (Federal Drug Administration),” he said. “There have not been any released, that have been approved by the FDA. The tests are not FDA approved.”

 The tests should not be used alone to say if a person has had COVID-19 or not. The serology tests should be combined with one of the molecular tests being given throughout the state, he said.

He said it says on the test it should not be used “as the sole basis to diagnose or to exclude infection. The reason I bring this up is because it is really important from a consumer protection purpose that people understand that the antibody test alone is not sufficient to say you don’t have it, or you do have it. It has to be combined with one of the other molecular tests.”

“The test may show the person had COVID-19 or a person might have had a coronavirus before, one of the plain old ones that causes colds,” he said.

 If a decision is made to put someone on a COVID-19 ward because of a serology test result, and relax personal protective equipment requirements, then that person would be very vulnerable to COVID-19, and it would not serve them well, he said.

Norman said that eventually there could be a serology test that is specific to COVID-19.

Contact Tim Horan editor@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

(2) comments

Frontline Doc

Prove* (forgive the typos).

Frontline Doc

This thought process is entirely backwards. The nasopharyngeal swab has inferior sensitivity, meaning it can miss 29-41% of positive cases, and this number drops significantly after 2 weeks of initial exposure. Antibody testing remains detectable indefinitely. A negative nasal swab CANNOT probe blood testing to be false positive.

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