A false positive is when a test result shows a person has a virus or disease when they don’t.
Although no test is 100 per cent accurate, the chance that you will receive a false positive result for your COVID-19 test is small.
“Our diagnostic laboratories use assays that are highly sensitive and specific to meet the needs for COVID 19 testing in Saskatchewan,” said Dr. Joseph Blondeau, provincial microbiology clinical lead.
As of July 18, an analysis of 80,000 tests performed in Saskatchewan labs found nine false positives. Based on this data, there is less than one per cent chance you will receive a false positive test result.
False positives are due to a number of factors, including analytical errors and instrumentation issues. However, controls and safeguards are in place to mitigate against these.
Saskatchewan labs work in collaboration with the Canadian National Microbiology Lab to validate testing and ensure they are accurate.
Lab staff review all test results. If they suspect a test’s accuracy, they will speak with the lab’s microbiologist who determines whether the sample should be retested.
If you believe you’ve received a false positive test result, continue to monitor for symptoms and speak with your physician or nurse practitioner. If further action is required, your care provider will contact the lab to discuss next steps.
For more information on testing, go to www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-testing. Testing is available for all Saskatchewan residents. However, both testing and test analyses are prioritized for people with symptoms and for those in priority groups. If you are asymptomatic or not in a priority group, you may wait longer to be notified of your test results. Test results are also available on eHealth Saskatchewan’s MySaskHealthRecord. Instructions for creating an account are on the site. To keep yourself and others safe, learn the precautions for self-monitoring and self-isolation.