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Additional testing reveals that two Duchesne County COVID-19 cases were most likely false-positives.

Vernal, UT May 18, 2020 – TriCounty Health Department (TCHD) is retracting two reported cases of COVID-19 after it was determined that they were false-positives. False-positive is a term that means a test incorrectly indicates that a particular condition or attribute is present when it is not. The cases were determined to be false-positive after the individuals agreed to undergo two additional viral tests and an antibody test, all of which came back negative.  

“Unfortunately, no medical test is completely perfect all of the time,” said Dr. Karl Breitenbach, TriCounty Health Department Medical Advisor. “Yes, COVID-19 testing isn’t as dialed in as we would like it to be, but it is understandable given the novel nature of this virus, and although it’s not ideal, it is the best tool we have at our disposal at this time.”  

In speaking on the issues of false-positive results, TriCounty Health Officer Jordan Mathis said, “We have worked really hard with our local and state partners to try to rule out any error in the local sampling process.  Finding none, and given the subsequent negative test results, we felt it was important to retract the originally reported cases.” 

Both retracted COVID-19 cases were asymptomatic Duchesne County residents who were originally tested in Roosevelt using

Statistically speaking, areas with a low COVID-19 disease burden such as the tri-county area are at an increased risk of experiencing false-positive results. This is particularly true as testing of asymptomatic individuals increases within the population. With any disease, if you are testing a low-prevalence population, you can expect a higher proportion of all positive tests to be false-positive.

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TriCounty Health, Serving For Health