NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Widespread testing for coronavirus is key to reopening, but experts warn tests are new and not foolproof.
Dr. Robert Segal of Manhattan-based Labfinder.com has seen repeated positive test results in a single patient, even after a test comes back negative, prolonging uncertainty, reports CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
“I think there’s a lot of fear and anxiety and confusion about the testing,” he said.
It happened to Diana Berrent of Port Washington in March.
“I thought it was in the clear,” said Berrent. “I went 14 days symptom-free and lo and behold, I still had traces, it is the virus in my system. I went back a week later, went back into quarantine for a week because at that point they didn’t know whether that meant I was contagious or not.”
Now considered clear, she participates in several coronavirus research projects and leads Survivor Corps, a Facebook group with close to 50,000 members.
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Unexpected test results made headlines this past week when 14 sailors aboard the San Diego based USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive for coronavirus, then tested negative twice, then came up COVID positive yet again.
Should the San Diego case cause concern?
“I think it’s concerning because it shows some of the tests, maybe in the early process of the syndrome, were faulty and not as sensitive and specific or accurate,” said Segal.
“There are strong suspicions of immunity,” said Berrent. “But until the science is there to prove it absolutely, we can’t assume anything.”
Many mysteries to unravel but experts say testing is improving and it is vital to keep doing it to give researchers and governments a sense of the big picture.
Knowing either result won’t give you a pass to stop hand washing, a face covering and proper social distancing.