Message from Urgent Care Now/Immunify on Training Week Outcomes
“In our first round of screening on Monday with the Senior class, a number of individuals experienced a preliminary ‘positive’ antigen screening during their on-campus swab. These individuals were then sent onward for confirmatory testing. A large proportion of those students then had negative results from the second round of tests (RT-PCR), indicating that preliminary screens were ‘false-positives.’ We understand this may leave some to question whether the system in place worked as it should.
We, the physicians at UCN, are confident they have identified and corrected potential environmental factors that caused this higher than predicted false-positive rate. On Monday all testing was being performed outdoors in an attempt to maximize physical distancing. Neither the machines nor cassettes were in direct sunlight, but indirect light, ambient heat, and wind may have decreased the accuracy of the test. The machines were moved to an inside location for the rest of the week. We believe that our new workflow will minimize false-positive tests and improve the accuracy of the antigen test being performed on campus. We are hopeful we have resolved the issue and have had no further false-positive screening results. Additionally, this workflow provides for a faster streamlined experience.
It is also important to highlight the nature of a screening exam like the one being done at Jesuit. While antigen testing is sensitive, it still requires that positive tests are sent for confirmatory testing. Antigen testing is faster and cheaper, which allows for a greater frequency of testing, but at a cost of high sensitivity and false-positives. The physicians at UCN and Immunify remain confident that those students and staff who tested negative AND completed/continue to complete the symptom tracker are safe. They are committed to assisting the Jesuit community in finding the right path forward.” — Dr. Ben Williams