October 26, 2020
News

COVID-19 LATEST: 31 more die, 992 new cases confirmed, large group tested wrongly told they did not have virus

Thirty-one more people have died after contracting the coronavirus as 992 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed this evening.

It brings 365 the overall death toll as a result of the virus. There are now 10,647, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country.

An additional 527 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported by Irish laboratories, along with an extra 465 new cases of the virus reported by a laboratory in Germany

Some 26 of the latest deaths are located in the east, three in the north west, one in the south and one in the west of the country

The latest casualties come as the Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed it is investigating cases where people have been incorrectly informed their test for Covid-19 was negative, when in fact they had contracted the virus.

A spokeswoman said the HSE had identified “less than 100 people” who were incorrectly informed about the result of their test.

The error occurred in tests where the original result was unclear or “indeterminate,” but people were informed it had been negative, she said.

When the National Virus Reference Laboratory in UCD reviewed the indeterminate results and re-tested the original samples the results came back as a weak positives.

“Unfortunately these indeterminate cases were initially reported as not detected and consequently were notified to people as such,” the spokeswoman said.

People who had been incorrectly informed by text that their test had been negative were then later told of the positive result in phone calls from contact tracing teams, following the review of the samples by the lab. Contact tracing teams alerted the HSE to the issue on Saturday.

“We are satisfied that no other patient has been impacted by this error. The HSE apologises for this error, and every effort has been made to ensure that the correct information is communicated to these patients without delay,” the spokeswoman added.

The issue emerged at a HSE briefing earlier today during which chief executive Paul Reid said the State’s coronavirus testing backlog has been reduced from a high point of around 35,000 people waiting for results to 11,000.

Meanwhile, Ireland is to become the first country in Europe to carry out a “health technology assessment”.

The Health Information Quality Authority is to publish this assessment this week, into the different tests and methodologies available around Covid-19.

This includes looking at anti-body testing, which aims to find out if people may have been infected without knowing and if they’re now immune.

Health Minister Simon Harris said he doesn’t expect this report to be a “magic wand solution”, but that it would be very “instructive” and give us a view on a range of issues being considered when it comes to testing.

Shane Doran

Shane Doran is founder and Co-Managing Editor of News Now Media, incorporating KilkennyNow.ie, WaterfordNow.ie and WicklowNow.ie. He is a former newspaper editor who has held senior executive roles across five national newspaper titles, both broadsheet and tabloid. He was News Editor and Executive Editor of the Irish Independent for more than seven years and spent a number of years in South Africa where he worked as editor of The Daily Voice newspaper. Shane has held senior editorial position with The Sunday Independent, The Herald and The Irish Daily Star and has served as Executive Editor (Group) of Independent News & Media (INM), Ireland’s largest newspaper group.

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