Mystery over new Covid-19 ‘unclear’ test results

By Carole Dennett May 16, 2020

As we reported earlier this morning a number of Islanders are expressing deep concerns that they have been contacted and told their Covid-19 test results are ‘unclear’, having previously been given the all-clear and told that they did not have the disease.  Islanders who thought they were safe because they had been assured they did not have the virus are now concerned that they may have inadvertently passed it on to others. It has also emerged that others have been waiting weeks for their test results.

One resident who does not wish to be named, contacted us by email saying: “Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only with this problem.  I booked a test because it was that my mother (in her 80’s) was simply not coping by herself, so I wanted a test before I moved her into my home so I could look after her.  The alternative was to book her into a care home, which of course I did not want at the moment because of the high death rates.  I had an annoying cough, so I wanted to be sure that she would be safe with me.   I was given the all-clear very quickly, in fact I was impressed.  It was desperately worrying to receive a text last night saying that the result was actually unclear and being advised to get another test done.  My cough has cleared up, so I’m praying everything is OK, but it is frightening to think that I could have caused my elderly Mum to become ill with this awful disease.  She seems fine at the moment thankfully, and I’ll get tested again as soon as I can.”

Others took to Facebook to say that they had been waiting since May 1 for the results of their tests.  The Government’s website says ‘We aim to return test results within 48 hours of a swab being taken, or within 72 hours for a home test’.

We contacted the MP for the Isle of Wight Bob Seely by text, who’s initial response was ‘Sorry I don’t understand, I assume that’s a joke?’ and asked us to write to him instead. When we explained that many Islanders were worried he responded saying ‘I will ask my team to look into it’.

The Leader of the IW Council Dave Stewart immediately realised that this was a serious issue, but confirmed that our call was the first he had heard about it.  He said that it was clearly a matter for the NHS who carry out the testing, but he would look into it himself and try to find out more as soon as possible. We have also contacted the NHS and are waiting for a comment from them.

An employee of the Corona Virus Testing Contact Centre suggested that people posting on Facebook waiting for results could be ‘one of the ones that have gone missing unfortunately’, or that there could be ‘an error at the testing site’.  She also said that ‘an UNCLEAR result means the swab taken was not sufficient enough to test properly, therefore they cannot give neither a positive or negative result’, however this would not explain the cases where people had already received a negative result.  The text messages saying that results were now unclear came from the same account that sent out the original negative result.