SARS CoV 2 Mass Testing Endangers Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

18 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2020

See all articles by Andrew Cohen

Andrew Cohen

Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions

Bruce Kessel

University of Hawaii at Manoa - John A. Burns School of Medicine

Michael G. Milgroom

Cornell University

Date Written: July 21, 2020

Abstract

Mass-testing for SARS-CoV-2 with RT-PCR has been widely implemented at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the U.S. and Canada. If prevalence is low, as is often the case in mass testing, and if false positive rates are similar to rates in similar RT-PCR tests, a large proportion of the positive results will be false. We here report numerous records of false positives at such facilities. Residents that test positive are routinely sequestered with other residents that tested positive. This exposes uninfected, false-positive-tested individuals to infected individuals, thereby increasing the risk that they will become infected with COVID-19. Testing meant to protect the frail and elderly may instead be endangering them. Requiring confirmation of positive results with a second test would eliminate most false positives. A few authorities have begun to implement this measure; all should.

Note: Funding: None to declare

Declaration of Interest: None to declare

Keywords: false positive, specificity, PCR, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, nursing home, assisted-living, long-term care

JEL Classification: I18, I10

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Andrew and Kessel, Bruce and Milgroom, Michael G., SARS CoV 2 Mass Testing Endangers Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities (July 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3656876 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3656876

Andrew Cohen (Contact Author)

Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions ( email )

5994 McBryde Avenue
Richmond, CA 94805
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.bioinvasions.com

Bruce Kessel

University of Hawaii at Manoa - John A. Burns School of Medicine ( email )

HI
United States

Michael G. Milgroom

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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