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Thursday, May 23, 2024

New COVID scare for Newmarch House

A Sydney aged care home at the centre of a large COVID-19 outbreak in June has confirmed that one resident who was believed to have tested positive to the virus on Monday, was in fact a ‘false positive’ result.

The resident, at Anglicare’s Newmarch House in Kingswood in Sydney’s western suburbs, has tested negative to coronavirus today, after returning a positive test result yesterday.

Epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws appeared on Channel Nine’s Today show this morning, saying a ‘false positive’ result was not uncommon and that aged care operators should be prepared for more of these outcomes.

“This patient shouldn’t pose any risk to any other resident there,” Prof McLaws said.

“It’s not uncommon that people have a very weak result for many weeks, sometimes some patients have a weak positive result months afterwards and it often depends on how sick they were the first time around.”

She said the tests look for remnants of the virus, which often generated the ‘false positive’ result.

“So this virus may not be alive when it’s found,” she told Today.

She said the test could not identify if the virus detected was a current or past infection.

Newmarch House has issued a statement in relation to the test result, saying it was “relieved” the result was negative.

“We are continuing our precautions and retaining our infection control procedures and other protocols for the time being,” it said.

“Residents and families will be updated on the latest information and we will continue to speak to them directly.”

Nineteen residents of Newmarch House died of coronavirus after an outbreak at the facility early this year, while 37 residents and 34 staff were infected.

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