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Extendicare Maple View COVID-19 cases not ‘false positives,’ Algoma Public Health says

Health unit addresses public speculation

Despite some public speculation regarding the status of three Extendicare Maple View residents who tested positive for COVID-19, Algoma Public Health (APH) states those three residents did indeed contract the virus.

It has been suggested by some that upon ‘re-testing,’ the three residents proved to be COVID-negative. 

“The interpretation that these results are false positives is incorrect,” wrote Leo Vecchio, APH spokesperson, in an email to SooToday.

“All of the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in Algoma so far are confirmed cases, including the three residents who tested positive at Extendicare Maple View.”

The test used to detect COVID-19, Vecchio wrote, is virtually 100 per cent specific, meaning the likelihood of getting a single false positive result is exceptionally low.

On top of that, the likelihood of getting three false positive results is virtually zero, Vecchio wrote.

APH, Veccho stated, also verified directly with the testing laboratories to confirm there were no errors or contamination of samples.

“In general, we would expect that if a person contracts COVID-19, they would test positive; once they have recovered from the illness and cleared the virus, they would test negative if re-tested.”

As reported May 6, the three residents showed no symptoms and were remaining in isolation to prevent further transmission.

As of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 21, APH COVID-19 numbers showed;

  • 6,030 tested
  • 20 positive
  • 5,767 negative
  • 243 pending
  • 0 deceased
  • 13 resolved

Total confirmed cases by area of residence: 

  • 16 in Sault Ste. Marie and area, with evidence of community spread
  • 1 in central and east Algoma
  • 3 in Elliot Lake and area ***
  • 0 in north Algoma 

Algoma Public Health states “these numbers now include testing that was completed at long-term care homes (LTCH) in the Algoma district as part of the province’s one-time surveillance testing initiative. Staff and residents of all Algoma LTCHs have completed one-time surveillance testing.”  

*** Three positive cases in Elliot Lake and area have been confirmed by Elliot Lake Family Health Team.