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Lab error in N.L. leads to two unreported COVID-19 cases and a false positive

Two cases of COVID-19 announced today in Newfoundland and Labrador involve people who tested positive on the weekend and went unidentified because of a laboratory error.

In a news release, officials from Eastern Health say an ongoing investigation into a positive case announced Sunday led to the discovery of the two previously unidentified cases.

The investigation also revealed that the positive test announced Sunday was in fact negative, with the mistake stemming from a data manipulation error in the province’s public health laboratory.

The two cases announced today are a man and a woman in their 60s who returned to the province from work in Alberta.

Public health officials say they are members of the same household and have been self-isolating since they arrived.

There are seven active COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador, and with Sunday’s case now identified as a mistake, there is no longer an active case in the province whose source is unknown.

As a result of the cases announced today, public health is also asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada flight 7484 on Nov. 5 from Toronto to Deer Lake, N.L., to call 811 and arrange for a COVID-19 test.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2020.

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