COVID-19 testing questioned after Gov. DeWine’s false positive

False positive test results are uncommon, but happen
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -After Governor DeWine’s COVID testing confusion, many are asking if all tests are created equal.

The answer is they’re all reliable if they’re administered correctly.

According to Dr. Kevin Casey, MD from Mercy Health, if the test is given correctly, the reliability can be upwards of 90% accurate.

That goes for whichever test you get. There are three types that are being widely used. The most accurate is the nasopharynx and is administered by sticking a long cotton swab very high into the nasal cavity.

Dr. Casey says “This is a test that’s looking for the virus or virus fragments. So we know it’s in the saliva in mucus back there in the back of the nose in the top of the throat. So the swab goes back there, it’s supposed to pick up little fragments of the virus and then when the analyzer is run, it just says yes there’s a virus there or there’s not.”

The other two types of tests are done similarly, but one swabs the back of the throat, and the other swabs lower in the nasal cavity. Again, if given correctly, they are accurate. But that’s not always the case.

When it comes to the rapid tests, they are performed the same but you can get results back in as little as 15 minutes and up to 3 days. As with Governor DeWine’s false positive, Dr. Casey says that is extremely rare, but it does happen. It’s simply not known why. It is much more common to get a false negative and again, the only known reason, in that case, is human error in administering the test.

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