Health expert weighs in on COVID testing following positive, then negative Colts cases

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INDIANAPOLIS – Following Friday’s news from the Colts organization, there are still many unanswered questions.

We’re hearing more and more about false negatives and positives and that’s creating confusion. So we wanted to know, how are you supposed to know if your COVID test is accurate?

In just a short few hours on Friday, we learned the four people who tested positive for COVID-19 with the Colts, re-tested and now are negative.

“That doesn’t happen very often, especially around COVID-19,” said Thomas Duszynski is the Director of Epidemiology Education for the Richards M. Fairbanks School of Public Health on the campus of IUPUI.

He reports that false negatives are more common and more challenging.

“Because you can go and get tested today and be negative and get tested tomorrow and be positive and you’re thinking – what’s going on here?” explained Duszynski, “The reality is, you might not have enough virus yet when they do the nasal swab to detect it on that test yet.”

Duszynski said, that there are two factors that weigh a COVID test.

“The sensitivity is if I truly have the disease, will the test be sensitive enough to say ‘yes I have the disease’ and then specificity is just the opposite. If I truly do not have the disease can the test accurately say ‘I do not have the disease,’” he added.

And the type of test, could also impact your results.

“For much of the research that I’ve seen is the one that goes all of the way up the nose, what we call a nasopharyngeal swab or a np swab, is probably the most accurate for detecting active infections,” said Duszynski.

He’s aware of the hesitancy surrounding testing, but to keep us all in the game we have to take the proper steps.

“We see people not getting tested because they don’t have signs or symptoms which then they are infected and infectious, and that represents a huge challenge for public health,” he said, “I think the thing that I have heard most about is that people are hesitant to get tested because of the consequences of being positive.”

We’re still waiting to hear from the Colts organization on what type of testing was used for the individuals who originally tested positive.

This is a developing story and we will update once we learn more.

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