Following discovery of falsely reported positive COVID-19 tests, 106 cases removed

THE R.I. DEPARTMENT of Health announced 113 false positive COVID-19 test results were reported between July 9 and July 14. / AP FILE PHOTO/ CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Public Health has confirmed that the falsely reported positive COVID-19 tests of 113 Rhode Islanders were conducted at Sunrise Medical Laboratories in Hicksville, New York.

The laboratory, which is owned by the Sonic Healthcare network, is a partner lab of East Side Clinical Laboratory in East Providence. However, Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for RIDOH, said these tests were not run at ESCL, but at Sunrise Medical.

Out of the 113 falsely reported positive tests, 106 cases were removed from Rhode Island’s case count, said Wendelken. If someone had already received an initial positive result before receiving this second, false positive result, then that person is still considered a case, according to Wendelken.

RIDOH’s COVID-19 data tracking website has now been updated to reflect the correct number of positive test results, according to Wendelken.

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The original false results were reported between July 9 and July 14. On July 14, 102 new cases of the coronavirus were originally reported, which was the highest one-day increase of new cases in the state since early June. On July 15, there were 52 new cases originally reported.

Since RIDOH’s update, there are now 42 new cases of the coronavirus that were reported on July 14 and now 88 reported on July 15, which is still the highest number of cases reported in one day since June 10 when 104 new cases were reported.

Wendelken says the shift in data is due to RIDOH’s data cleaning, where some cases will get shifted one day forward or one day back so the data is reported consistently by result date as opposed to swab date or date received at RIDOH.

Alexa Gagosz is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at

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