Common COVID Test Can Provide False Results, FDA Warns
The FDA has alerted doctors and labs that they must use updated instructions with Thermo Fisher’s TaqPath or the test could yield inaccurate results. In other testing and tracing news: rapid tests, an Iowa data glitch, long wait times for results and more.
FDA Flags Accuracy Issue With Widely Used Coronavirus Test
Potential accuracy issues with a widely used coronavirus test could lead to false results for patients, U.S. health officials warned. The Food and Drug Administration issued the alert Monday to doctors and laboratory technicians using Thermo Fisher’s TaqPath genetic test. Regulators said issues related to laboratory equipment and software used to run the test could lead to inaccuracies. The agency advised technicians to follow updated instructions and software developed by the company to ensure accurate results. (Perrone, 8/18)
Delta Partnering With CVS For Employee Rapid-Response Coronavirus Testing
Delta Air Lines is expanding its employee coronavirus testing program to include a testing option that takes fewer than 15 minutes to diagnose, the company announced on Tuesday. The airline will use CVS Health Return Ready testing, which is a rapid-response nasal swab test. It will be overseen by a CVS clinician in Delta hub crew lounges. (Gangitano, 8/18)
How Much Will The SalivaDirect Test Help The U.S. Testing Crisis?
A newly authorized saliva-based coronavirus test is a step in the right direction, but it won't do much to ease the strain on labs as they process test results, experts say. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization, or EUA, for SalivaDirect, which can detect whether a person is infected with the coronavirus using saliva, rather than a sample taken from deep in the nasal cavity. (Syal, 8/17)
'Horrifying' Data Glitch Skews Key Iowa Coronavirus Metrics
A state agency says it is working to fix a data error on Iowa’s coronavirus website that lowers the number of new confirmed cases and therefore downplays the severity of the current outbreak, just as schools are deciding whether to reopen. The glitch means the Iowa Department of Public Health has inadvertently been reporting fewer new infections and a smaller percentage of daily positive tests than is truly the case, according to Dana Jones, an Iowa City nurse practitioner who uncovered the problem. It’s particularly significant because school districts are relying on state data to determine whether they will offer in-person instruction when school resumes in the coming days and weeks. (Foley, 8/17)
Dallas Morning News:
As Dallas County Residents Wait Longer For COVID-19 Test Results At One Site, Leaders Demand Change
Dallas County leaders are calling for changes at one of the region’s largest public coronavirus testing sites as new data show that wait times for results have nearly doubled. Commissioner John Wiley Price, who represents southern Dallas, will ask officials Tuesday to forgo paying the county’s portion of a $14.6 million contract with the city of Dallas and Honu Management Group to provide 500 tests a day at a community college in Mesquite. (Garcia and Hacker, 8/17)
Illinois Launches Online COVID-19 Hotspot Map For Travelers
Illinois public health officials on Monday launched a COVID-19 hotspot map for travelers to assess their risk before leaving the state. The online map shows which U.S. states have an average daily case rate of at least 15 cases per 100,000 people, which is considered higher risk. (Tareen, 8/17)
The Washington Post:
I Downloaded Covidwise, America's First Bluetooth Exposure-Notification App. You Should, Too.
There’s a new kind of app that uses your smartphone’s Bluetooth wireless signals to figure out when you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It pops up the world’s most stressful-yet-helpful notification: “You have likely been exposed.” For the past week and a half, 35 Washington Post staff members have been helping me test America’s first exposure-notification app using technology from Apple and Google. It’s called Covidwise, and works in the state of Virginia. Made by state health departments, similar apps are also now available in North Dakota (Care19 Alert), Wyoming (also called Care19 Alert), and Alabama (Guidesafe). In total, 20 states and territories are developing apps that will cover nearly half the U.S. population. (Fowler, 8/17)